By Carl Adamec
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team hasn’t lost to an Atlantic Coast Conference team in almost six years.
Top 10 teams Maryland and Duke are coming to Connecticut later this season, in fact the Terrapins’ visit is less than two weeks away (Dec. 3). Wake Forest wasn’t about to be the streak buster Thursday.
Breanna Stewart had 20 points as the second-ranked Huskies crushed the Demon Deacons 95-34 in a first-round game of the Paradise Jam at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
The last time UConn lost to an ACC team was at North Carolina in January, 2007.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (16), Morgan Tuck (16), Brianna Banks (12), and Stefanie Dolson (11) joined Stewart in double figures. All-American Bria Hartley had eight points, all in the first half. Hartley, who missed the first two games with a left ankle injury, played just under 15 minutes in three approximately five-minute stints. She made all three of her shots from the floor and had four rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
“I thought Bria did great,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma told SNY sideline reporter Kerith Burke after the win. “It’s hard to sit out that much and practice only two days and then come out and play. Little by little, she’s going to get back to her old self and you could see some of the things today she brings to the team. I expect more from her every game we play.”
For the second straight game, UConn (3-0) led wire to wire. The Huskies have not trailed since giving up the first basket of the game to College of Charleston in the opener.
UConn took a 12-0 lead on two hoops by Stewart sandwiched around one by Dolson and consecutive 3-pointers by Dolson — the first of her career — and Mosqueda-Lewis. It was 20-2 when Wake Forest scored consecutive baskets for the only time in the first half. The Huskies scored the period’s final 15 points including six by Dolson to lead 45-12 at intermission.
Wake Forest (2-2) scored the first five points of the second half to pull within 28 but the Huskies dominated from there with their biggest lead being the final margin.
Banks also had six assists while Kiah Stokes chipped in seven rebounds and three blocked shots for the second straight game.
“It was a physical game,” Auriemma said. “When you get down a lot you start to get a little frustrated and that’s probably what happened with Wake. I thought we responded well.
“Overall, we did an unbelievable job in our first game here.”
UConn returns to action Friday against Marist (8:15 p.m., SNY) and Hartley expects to be ready to go.
“I’m hoping I’ll be all right,” Hartley told SNY’s Burke. “It’s going to be sore. All I can do is go with the trainers and do the rehab they want me to do, then go out on the court and play hard.”
Asia Williams had 10 points for Wake Forest.