7:30 PM ET, November 15, 2011
STORRS, Conn. -- Pacific coach Lynne Roberts flew her team across the country because she wanted to give the Tigers the experience of playing one of the nation's top programs on that team's home court.And they got to see Connecticut at its best on Tuesday night.Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 25 points and fellow freshman Briana Banks added 12, including eight in less than a minute to spark a 30-2 run that broke open a close game early and helped the Huskies rout Pacific 112-53."I've never been in a game where either myself or the opponent shot 71 percent for the game," Roberts said. "Maybe we didn't defend as well as we needed to, but some of that is that they shot the lights out as a team, and you've got to take your hat off to that and say good job. That's what you tell the team. At the end of the day a good team beat us, but a good team also shot exceptionally well."Erica McKenzie had 16 points and Kendall Rodriguez scored 12 for Pacific (0-2), which never led."I think we can take a lot from this game, and just really learn from it," McKenzie said. "It helps us build for our next games and our season. We played one of the best teams in the nation. You can learn from that."Six players scored in double figures for the Huskies (2-0), who have won an NCAA-record 85 consecutive home games and 118 of their last 120 games at Gampel Pavilion.UConn led 68-25 at halftime, tying a school record for points in a half.The run-and-gun style is something coach Geno Auriemma expects to use a lot this season, playing to the strength of a young team that often has four guards on the floor at the same time."That's what we're trying to do is basically create enough possessions to overcome whatever we don't know at this point in time and just play," he said. "We've got four ballhandlers out there most of the time and it's good when we touch the ball that we can convert defense to offense pretty quickly."The Tigers were the last opponent during the Huskies' record-setting 90-game win streak. UConn lost at Stanford last season to end that streak and the Huskies host the No. 5 Cardinal in their next home game on Monday night.Connecticut jumped to an 11-6 lead amid some sloppy play, committing three fouls and three turnovers in the first 5 minutes.That prompted Auriemma to sub in all three of his freshmen, a move that paid immediate dividends. They scored 13 straight points, including the eight consecutive by Banks that sparked the big run."I just came out and tried to bring as much intensity as I could," she said. "Because right before the game coach was telling us we couldn't have any letdowns once the subs come in, so I kind of took that to heart."That run also included the first two 3-pointers of Mosqueda-Lewis' college career. The sharp-shooting forward went 0 for 7 in her debut against Holy Cross. She hit her first four shots in this one, going 10 of 12 from the floor, including 5 of 6 from behind the arc.The Huskies hit 10 of 12 shots during the big surge and forced 10 turnovers. All 11 Huskies got into the game and scored before intermission.Bria Hartley had 18 points, Caroline Doty had 11 points and six assists, and Tiffany Hayes and Kelly Faris had 11 points apiece.Pacific turned the ball over 26 times, 17 in the first half, and UConn had 41 points off turnovers."We have a lot of really great guards," Hartley said. "So, we're able to get out in transition if we play pressure defense the whole time, and get steals and push."UConn's 68 first-half points tied the record set Jan. 6, 1998, in a 126-48 win over Providence. The Huskies took the foot off the gas pedal a bit in the second half, reaching 100 points with just over 6 minutes left.The game was the 999th in Pacific's history but just the team's 12th in the Eastern time zone. This was the Tigers' first trip to the East Coast since 2009.UConn won last year's meeting 85-42 in Stockton, Calif., before falling at Stanford.The last time the Huskies lost at home was in the 2007 Big East championship game to Rutgers. The NCAA counts UConn's postseason games played in Storrs and Hartford as home games.The Tigers dropped their season opener Sunday at Fairfield, shooting 28 percent from the floor during a 56-47 loss. Pacific returns home to play the 1,000th game in program history on Sunday against Saint Mary's."I don't worry about getting our confidence back because our season did not ride on this game," Roberts said. "We have a home game on Saturday against a team in the West Coast Conference, which is a conference like ours, and get back to playing the normal opponent."
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