Women's Basketball Notebook: Huskies get last laugh in one-sided rivalry with Rutgers
UConn guard Bria Hartley goes up for a layup against Rutgers Sunday afternoon. JON KULAKOFSKY/The Daily Campus
UNCASVILLE - The UConn women's basketball team advanced to the American Athletic Conference tournament final as they defeated Rutgers 83-57 in their last match up as conference opponents.
Next season Rutgers will be moving to the Big Ten conference, but the Huskies will see the Scarlet Knights throughout the regular season as non-conference opponents. UConn and Rutgers have met eight times prior to this game in the Big East tournament including four times in the final. The Huskies are 7-1 and 3-1 in the finals against the Scarlet Knights, and this tournament was no different as Rutgers struggled to keep up with UConn's game pace.
The Huskies opened up with fire as they went on a 13-0 lead not allowing Rutgers to score for the first four minutes of the game. UConn held the Scarlet Knights to a mere 19 points in the first half. It took Rutgers 14 minutes to get into double-digits as UConn dominated the court with five blocks, three steals and 50 points just in the first half.
"I thought the way we started the game was about exactly the way you want the games to start," head coach Geno Auriemma said. "I thought we came out aggressive, we got out in transition, we moved the ball great... that entire first 20 minutes was as good of basketball I can hope for, especially in the postseason."
Stefanie Dolson made history as she surpassed Ann Strother to clinch the No.12 spot on UConn's scoring list. Dolson has racked up 1,700 career points throughout her four years at UConn. She also moved to second place in career starts and No. 10 in career minutes after six minutes of play in the first half.
Breanna Stewart also continued to make records this game as she racked up her 100th assist this season. Compared to last season with just 35 assists, Stewart has made a tremendous improvement. She joins Maya Moore as the only two Huskies with 500 points, 250 rebounds, 50 steals and 50 blocks.
"When we are going like that and playing really well, we know we can go on really big runs at a time," senior Bria Hartley said. "I think when we play like that it's fun, we are having a great time out there and we are really enjoying it. We want to keep playing like that the rest of the way."
UConn surpassed Rutgers with ease, showing that when the Huskies are hot it is impossible to cool them off. Their frontcourt and backcourt were both top notch as Rutgers struggled to survive.
The Huskies advance to the conference finals on Monday as they play Louisville for the third time this regular season. The Huskies and Cardinals will battle it out as they compete for the conference title.
"You don't really get caught up in the name of things because we saw how that can change. If it's a preseason tournament at home, a thanksgiving tournament on the road, if it's a conference tournament," Auriemma said. "We have traditionally done really well in the tournaments. I think it's appropriate that we are in the finals. We have to prove over the first five months that we are the best team in the league so we should be playing tomorrow night."
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