By Carl Adamec
HARTFORD, Conn. — The last thing the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team wanted to do Tuesday night was get caught up in Villanova’s slow tempo of play.
So the Huskies did the one thing that would speed up the Wildcats — take an early lead.
Third-ranked UConn led wire to wire as it routed Villanova 76-43 before a crowd of 10,324 in Big East action at the XL Center.
The Huskies (19-1 overall, 6-1 Big East) moved into sole possession of second place in the league, one game behind Notre Dame, with their seventh consecutive win. They have also won 10 straight against Villanova by an average margin of 32.3 points.
Stefanie Dolson led UConn with 20 points. The nation’s leader in field-goal percentage was 8-for-11 from the floor. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 19 points. The sophomore, who ranks second nationally behind Penn State’s Maggie Lucas in 3-point shooting percentage, was 5-for-6 from behind the arc. Her only miss went around the rim and came out in the second half. The best 3-point shooting game percentage-wise in UConn history is Caroline Doty’s 6-for-6 against Oklahoma on Nov. 30, 2008.
Dolson and Mosqueda-Lewis set the tone offensively from the start. Both scored as UConn put up the game’s first seven points. A spurt of 10 unanswered points, including five by Breanna Stewart, made it 27-10
UConn broke it wide open as Dolson and Mosqueda-Lewis combined for the first 13 points in a 15-0 run that pushed the lead 30. It was 44-17 at halftime.
Villanova (16-4, 5-2) got no closer than 24 the rest of the way.
Stewart finished with 14 points for UConn. The Wildcats were led by Jesse Carey’s nine points. Leading scorer Laura Sweeney and Rachel Roberts combined for just nine.
The Huskies face St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena in New York Saturday at 2 p.m.