7:30 PM ET, December 2, 2003
STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- While playing flat and sloppy ball, top-ranked Connecticut needed a spark. The Huskies found it in sophomore guard Ann Strother.She had 11 of her 14 points in the first half, hustling for loose balls and rebounds to lead the Huskies to a 69-45 win over Siena on Tuesday."I felt like I needed to get something going and get something started, whether it was to get a basket or a rebound or get a steal, just something to get the energy going," Strother said.Strother finished with three of UConn's 11 steals and had five assists.The victory extended the Huskies' home winning streak to 67 games. The Huskies are now two wins short of matching Tennessee's record for most consecutive victories at home.The Huskies (4-0) tipped off against the Saints just hours after learning that reserve guard Nicole Wolff was lost for the season with a torn ligament in her left knee. Wolff was injured during practice Monday and tests Tuesday confirmed the tear. She missed all but 10 games last season with stress fractures in her left foot."We were thinking about it, but it shouldn't affect the way we play," said Diana Taurasi, who finished with 13 points and five assists. "We weren't defending, we weren't rebounding."The Huskies had five turnovers in the first four minutes and Siena (2-3) made them pay. The Saints scored seven of their first nine points off turnovers and built a 9-2 lead."The first half was just bad basketball. That's all you can say to explain it," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "There was no flow to it."UConn got its first lead at 14-13 on Strother's inside basket with 9:52 remaining. Siena regained the lead on a 4-0 run with jumpers by Michelle Blot and Trish Lyons.Strother hit a backdoor shot with 4:16 left to key a 9-1 run to end the half. The Huskies led 29-23 at the break, then controlled play in the second half.The Huskies had a 27-5 run, wearing down the overmatched Saints by pushing the tempo and forcing 10 turnovers. UConn forward Barbara Turner scored all 12 of her points in the first seven minutes of the second period.UConn also played more sure-handed and committed just four turnovers in the final 20 minutes."UConn came out on fire. They knew they needed to step it up," Siena coach Gina Castelli said. "I thought we just ran out of gas."Jolene Johnston led Siena with 12 points and eight rebounds. Liene Jansone added 10 points.