PRAYERS LEFT UNANSWERED
Huskies dominate Holy Family in exhibition
Students sit in Bookworms Cafe in this file photo. Although the sign on the left indicates it will be renovated during winter break 2006, renovations have yet to be completed. Julie Friedlander
HARTFORD-- On a snowy night in Hartford, the UConn women's basketball team opened its game with an equally cold first 13 minutes before pulling away from Holy Family to win 119-50.
The Huskies came out of the locker room firing up bricks, missing their first three three-pointers before the game was even a minute-and-a-half old.
Holy Family, on the other hand, came out of the gates throwing darts.
Ana Cruz was on fire for the Tigers in the first half. She dropped 11 points and hit three of her four three-pointers in the first half.
After falling behind by nine points early on, Holy Family took advantage of the Huskies' cold shooting and 10 first half turnovers to take the lead at 17-16 after Cruz knocked down a right wing three.
Cruz gave the Tigers another lead just one minute later by knocking down another outside shot, putting her team up 20-19.
But that would be the last lead of the night for the Philadelphia-based school, because UConn hit its final five three-pointers of the half after starting off 5-of-15 from downtown.
Entering the locker room, the Huskies led by 20, but Coach Geno Auriemma was frustrated with his team's performance, though he credited some of their struggles to playing a tough opponent.
"If our guys are thinking, 'Wow, it's a snowy night in Hartford, an hour to get here from campus, Division II team...' the frustrating part is that they've got to understand that teams come, and they come to play. And that team made seven threes in the first half. We go a month sometimes without giving up seven threes," he said.
After the break, Auriemma's defense tightened up and Holy Family struggled to gain momentum on offense.
UConn had a 30-0 run in the first 5:17 minutes of the second half, before Molly Hanlon conpleted a layup for the Tigers to break the drought.
"In the first half, I feel like we just took this team and everything for granted," UConn sophomore Brianna Banks said. "We felt like we were just too good to work hard, and Coach let us know that. So in the second half we had to step it up and we did."
Holy Family opened the game 13-for-27 from the field, but finished the game shooting just 30 percent, as they were held to 3-for-26 shooting in the second half.
The onslaught of long-range shooting by the Huskies continued into the second half. They put up 14 threes but they managed to convert at a much higher rate, hitting eight and finished the night at 57 percent from behind the arc.
Despite putting up so many three-pointers in the game, the Huskies were also effective inside, as freshman center forward Breanna Stewart torched the Tigers.
Stewart showed no signs of the sore foot that kept her out of practice Monday and Tuesday, and led the team with 21 points, two blocks and four rebounds throughout the night.
The UConn frontcourt depth was apparent throughout the night, but was most impressive when junior center Stefanie Dolson held the ball above the key and found Stewart with a lob past into the low post for an easy layup.
Dolson's passing skills were on display the whole night, as she dished out two assists and spent much of her night making passes from up top, as well as from in the post, to spread out the defense.
"That's something we have been working on - going high-low like that," Stewart said. "Most of the time I'm at the high post and she's low, but it just goes to show that we can switch positions."
The three freshmen - Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson - were impressive once again for the Huskies and all three managed double-digit points on the night.
Redshirt senior Caroline Doty also returned to the court after sitting out Friday against Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Doty, who has torn the ACL in her left knee three times, was benched for that game due to some knee discomfort, but the minor injury showed no ill-effects as she totaled 11 points in 13 minutes against the Tigers.
Next up for the Huskies is their regular season opener against College of Charleston on Sunday. That game is set for a 1:30 p.m. tipoff at Gampel Pavilion.
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