HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma has been
pleasantly surprised by how well his team has been playing so far
The second-ranked Huskies have run through their opponents,
winning by an average of 43 points, including Tuesday night's 81-51
win over Texas A&M (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP).
"We're a little bit ahead of where I thought we'd be,"
Auriemma said. "We talk a lot about how good we could be and right
now we just keep trying to find that out."
Tiffany Hayes and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each scored 14 points
to lead a balanced offense in the Jimmy V Classic that saw six
Huskies in double figures.
"We have a very well-rounded team and we'll get it inside,
we'll get it outside and hopefully that's harder to scout," said
Kelly Faris, who had 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists for
the Huskies (8-0).
The victory was UConn's 91st straight at home, extending its
NCAA record. The Huskies' last home loss came in the 2007 Big East
championship game to Rutgers.
"It's too early to anoint them as a Final Four team," Texas
A&M coach Gary Blair said. "I'd be greatly surprised if they
aren't. We're not there yet."
Caroline Doty had 11 points as UConn put six players in double
figures. She sat out the final 30 minutes of the Huskies' win over
Towson on Nov. 30 after suffering a concussion. She showed no ill
effects against the Aggies.
"Caroline was great tonight. (I) was happiest for her, she's been
struggling so much," Auriemma said. "We've got a lot of things we
need to work on down the road."
UConn has opened up the season with eight straight home games.
The only ranked team the Huskies played before Tuesday night was
then-No. 3 Stanford, which UConn beat 68-58. They begin the Big
East season at Seton Hall on Friday before a showdown with No. 1
Baylor on Dec. 18.
"We've been home. Kids haven't felt what it's like to play on
the road," Auriemma said. "That will come on Friday then the
With the score tied 5-all, UConn went on a 20-6 run to take a
14-point lead with 8:17 left in the first half. Kelsey Bone's layup
with 16:12 left was the Aggies' only basket during the burst as
they missed 14 straight shots after that. White's jumper with 7:15
left in the half ended the drought, but Texas A&M could only get
within 10 the rest of the half. Mosqueda-Lewis' 3-pointer with 3:16
left gave UConn a 34-17 advantage. The Huskies led 36-24 at the
Texas A&M pulled to within 38-28 early in the second half, but UConn
put the game away with a 12-2 burst. Hayes, Doty and Mosqueda-Lewis
all hit 3s and Bria Hartley added a three-point play.
"It happens so quickly," Auriemma said. "I looked up and
couldn't believe we were up 20-something."
Texas A&M (6-2) was coming off its first loss of the season,
falling to then-No. 13 Purdue on Sunday. That was the first defeat
for the defending national champions since they lost to Baylor in
the Big 12 final last March.
Tyra White scored 14 to lead Texas A&M. Sydney Carter had just
two points. She came into the game having missed her last 15 shots.
She missed her first 11 against UConn before finally converting a
jumper with 9:28 left in the game that made it 63-43.
"I promise you it's a slump. Nothing going on with her," Blair
said. "Carter has to get better."
UConn had 24 assists on its 32 baskets.
It's the second straight season that the Aggies played in the
Jimmy V Classic. They lost by three to Duke last season before
going on to win their first national championship.
"We didn't do a good job out there," Blair said. "We'll get
better. Don't give up on us. We weren't a whole lot better at this
time last year and we turned into a pretty good ball club. We lost
our composure out there in the second half, that's all
UConn has played in the event three previous times, losing its
last two games against North Carolina in 2005 and 2006. The Huskies
are locked in to play the next two years against Maryland in a
"It's an awareness game," Auriemma said. "It's a game to make
you aware of what the fight is and make you understand where the
fight started, what's being done about it every day. UConn, we
should be in it every single year. There's a special bond with
UConn people and Jimmy V people."