By Carl Adamec
While much has been made about Kelly Faris’ improved shooting her senior season, it’s her defense that has had her on the floor for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team for 122 consecutive games.
Faris reminded 11,645 at the XL Center in Hartford and a national television audience of that in the Jimmy V Classic Monday night.
The Plainfield, Ind., native turned Maryland All-American Alyssa Thomas into a non-factor. It turned No. 2 UConn’s struggling offense into a moot point as the Huskies downed the ninth-ranked Terrapins 63-48 to remain unbeaten at 7-0.
Faris finished with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting from the floor, seven rebounds, seven assists with no turnovers, and a career high eight steals. Thomas, meanwhile, had six points on 2-for-12 shooting, four assists, and eight turnovers. The Terrapins (4-2) committed 26 turnovers.
The Huskies led wire to wire for the sixth straight game, scoring the game’s first six points en route to a 13-4 lead. Maryland pulled back within two on a Tianna Hawkins hoop before the Huskies regained command. Breanna Stewart scored the first seven points and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ 3-pointer capped a 10-0 run that made it 27-15. Two baskets by Faris closed the period and gave the Huskies their biggest lead at 33-20 at halftime.
Maryland closed within 40-33, but a 3-point basket by Brianna Banks and a conventional three-point play All-American Bria Hartley put the lead in double figures the rest of the way.
Stefanie Dolson led the Huskies with 14 points and eight rebounds. Stewart added 13 and Banks 11. UConn’s previous low point total was 81 against Texas A&M and Marist. Hawkins had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds for Maryland, which played its first game without injured guard Laurin Mincy (ACL). The Terrapins, who lead the nation in rebound margin, won the battle of the boards 39-35.
Mosqueda-Lewis did not play in the second half for UConn due to a left quad contusion.
It was the first meeting between the schools. UConn will visit College Park next season.