CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) -- A matchup with Old Dominion that seemed to test No. 2 Connecticut in the opening minutes quickly turned into a rout.
The Huskies (4-0), who fell behind halfway through the first period, had four players in double figures in an 86-43 victory over the Lady Monarchs Friday night at the Paradise Jam."It's fun to see our offense operate like that because four games into it, you don't realize how good it can be," said Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma. "I think we got a chance to see how good it can be."Tina Charles had 15 points and seven rebounds to lead Connecticut, which also got 12 points from Renee Montgomery and 10 points apiece from Maya Moore and Kalana Greene.The Huskies also had 24 assists, including one that Moore took from Mel Thomas for an alley-oop and another she took two minutes later for a reverse layup to put the Huskies up 54-30 with 12:50 to play.In the tournament championship on Sunday, Connecticut will face Duke (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP), a 64-53 winner over Temple earlier Friday.Old Dominion (3-1) came out excited about their role as underdogs, but their intensity faded after they jumped out 14-13 with 10:52 to play."Unfortunately, it takes mental fortitude, and we didn't have that today," coach Wendy Larry said.After falling behind, the Huskies rattled off nine unanswered points. They ended the first half on 15-1 run that included four baskets by Charles from close range to go ahead 37-20.Connecticut shot 72 percent in the second half -- for a game average of 65 percent -- and widened their advantage until the final basket."It was an unspoken urgency to get up by 20 and then get up by 30 and get up by 40. Coach made a point that when you get up on a team, you just need to bury them," said Brittany Hunter, who had eight points and grabbed seven rebounds for Connecticut."It wasn't fun in the first half. In the second, it picked up and everyone started sinking and it was way more fun," she said.The Huskies, who outrebounded the Lady Monarchs 22-19 in the first half, dominated the boards 20-14 in the second."In the second half we controlled the defensive boards so we were able to get out. And I thought we were a little more patient on offense," Auriemma said.Charles, who also blocked two shots, suggested another reason for the late explosion: "We wanted it more than we did in the beginning."T.J. Jordan led Old Dominion (3-1) with 13 points and Shahida Williams added nine with six rebounds.The Lady Monarchs shot 29 percent from the floor, including 3-for-18 from behind the arc. They went 4-for-18 from the free-throw line.Old Dominion will face No. 4 Stanford on Saturday night.