12:00 PM ET, December 31, 2007
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Mel Thomas had been in a bit of a shooting slump, hitting just two 3-pointers in her last four games.She shot her way out of that Monday, hitting her first seven shots, including five from behind the arc, and Connecticut opened its second week as the No. 1 team in the nation by routing Army, 82-33."I wanted to try and have a little bit more swagger," Thomas said. "I wanted to get it back a little bit and get it up in the air, and it went in tonight."Thomas led UConn with 19 points in 26 minutes. She finished 5-of-8 from 3-point range, and moved past Sue Bird and Jennifer Rizzotti into fourth place on UConn's career 3-point list with 212.UConn coach Geno Auriemma said the senior guard had been having a tough time putting her misses behind her, and needed a confidence boost."Once those first couple went in, you knew every one was going to go in," he said. "That's kind of how Mel is."The Huskies (11-0) put away the Black Knights (6-6) early in this New Year's Eve matinee, opening the game with a 17-3 run. Army scored the next eight, but the Huskies responded with a 14-2 spurt and were not challenged again. They led 47-15 at the break, and sat their regulars for much of the second half.Army coach Dave Magarity said Thomas' shooting sent his game plan down the drain."It just completely flushes it," he said. "We thought we could buy time in a zone. They do such a good job of making the extra pass. They are such an unselfish team."Army (6-6) was led by Cara Enright's seven points. Erin Anthony added four points and nine rebounds for the Black Knights.UConn's Renee Montgomery had 12 points and freshman Maya Moore added 11 points and six assists. She has been in double figures in all 11 games.Charde Houston, starting for the first time since Nov. 22, scored 10 points and had four steals. Houston had not scored more than six points all season, and had lost her starting job to Brittany Hunter.Hunter aggravated her surgically repaired right knee in Saturday's win over Hartford, did not play on Monday, and could miss Thursday's Big East opener at Villanova."I found out that I was starting and so wanted to make sure that I came up with a lot of intensity, so that we wouldn't lack anything losing Britt," Houston said.The Huskies, who won their first 10 games by an average of 41 points, again dominated on defense. They held Army to 28 percent shooting, forced 24 turnovers and outrebounded the Black Knights 40-28.Connecticut has won 24 consecutive regular-season games and has won its last 205 against unranked opponents. Army became the ninth UConn foe this season to lose by at least 30 points, but Auriemma said he doesn't expect that trend to continue."We've played a lot of teams that don't know anything about us," he said. "I think starting down at Villanova, you're playing someone who is very familiar with what you do. I would like to think that this is a good send-off, it's good preparation for what is going to happen. But it's a whole new season now."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||14-50 (.280)||32-60 (.533)|
|3P Made-Attempted||1-12 (.083)||7-18 (.389)|
|FT Made-Attempted||4-8 (.500)||11-17 (.647)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (0/0)||11 (0/0)|