STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut had more turnovers than
assists, shot a season-low 32 percent and played wildly out of
control in stretches.
About the only positive coach Geno Auriemma could point to
Saturday night was the final score: UConn 58, West Virgina 50.
"We were lousy," Auriemma said. "I told the players the one
good thing that game out of this was we won the game. Other than
that I can't think of really anything that came out of this that
The one bright spot at times was Charde Houston, who had 15
points, eight rebounds and three blocks. She also had six turovers.
It was that kind of night for the fourth-ranked Huskies -- one
brilliant play followed by a pass off a teammate's head.
"We kind of let our good deeds get away from us," Houston
The Mountaineers didn't make it easy on UConn, either.
"They were pretty aggressive and good defensively," Auriemma
said. "They helped make us look pretty bad."
The Huskies (21-2, 10-0 Big East) still did enough to win their
ninth straight game. West Virginia (12-8, 4-5) was coming off an
82-70 upset of No. 11 DePaul, but couldn't climb back from an early
15-point deficit and lost to UConn for the 16th straight time.
The Mountaineers were without leading scorer Meg Bulger, who was
lost for the season when she tore a ligament in her left knee last
week. She was averaging 19.8 points a game and led the nation in
3-pointers made with 3.5 per game.
"Connecticut is a great team. We're just short-handed," West
Virginia coach Mike Carey said. "We had to make it a sloppy game
because it was the only way we could play right now. Our girls
Mel Thomas had 11 points and Barbara Turner added 10 for UConn.
Ann Strother led the Huskies with nine rebounds and had three of
UConn's eight blocks.
It was UConn's first home game in 11 days. The Huskies were
coming off tough road wins over DePaul and Lousville, and have No.
9 Rutgers, also unbeaten in the Big East, at home on Tuesday.
Auriemma said the the two practices leading up to Saturday's
game was the best the team has looked all season. But it was a
sloppy, unfocused squad that took the floor against the
"It's a reminder to ourselves that as good as we can be at
times, as good as we can look for long stretches, we're not all
there," Auriemma said. "We're not completely there, mentally or
Bulger's replacement Laquita Owens led the Mountaineers with 20
points. She had four 3-pointers including one at the final buzzer.
Olahyinka Sanni had 11 points and Chakhia Cole grabbed a game-high
West Virginia dominated the scoring inside with a 24-18 edge in
the paint, but the Huskies' depth made the difference. UConn
reserves, led by Houston, outscored their counterparts 20-6.
The Mountaineers never led, but tied the Huskies 8-8 briefly
after an 8-0 run. Strother and Houston countered with baskets and
the Huskies gradually pulled away.
Houston set the tone the rest of the period. She scored 11
points on 4-of-5 shooting and made all three of her free throws and
UConn led by as many at 15 down the stretch. The Mountaineers cut
the deficit to 10 with a 9-4 run in the closing minutes and trailed
31-21 at the half.
"Lucky for us we were able to pull it out because of a couple
of hustle plays and good plays down the stretch," Strother said.
"It didn't look like this one should have gone our way."