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No. 1 UConn tops No. 2 Duke, 83-61

Associate Sports Editor

Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 21:12

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Photo Courtesy of Ed Ahlcrona

Another year, another UConn-Duke matchup, another similar result. Well, kind of.

The end result, a 83-61 win, was certainly familiar. In fact, Tuesday night’s result marks seven straight wins for the Huskies in the series.

How they got there, however, was a bit different than the past few matchups between the perennial Top 10 teams.

In years past, the second half has seemed much like a formality for UConn, simply the tail end of a steamrolling that needed to be completed. This time around, to the Blue Devils’ credit, the win didn’t come quite so easy.

Joanne McCallie’s squad fought to stay within arm’s length for much of the first 35 minutes.

While the Huskies took a comfortable 15-point lead into the locker room at halftime, they were unable to extend that advantage for most of the second half. In fact, aside from a 3:35 stretch in the first half during which Duke went scoreless and UConn opened up a nine-point lead, the two squads simply traded punches for much of the night.

Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, however, proved that there was a marked difference between the Huskies and the Blue Devils.

Early on, it was Stewart that Duke had no answers for. Within the first four minutes, the sophomore forward had tallied eight points. All told, she finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Mosqueda-Lewis checked into the game for the first time after that opening four minute stretch. The junior, who had been sidelined since injuring her elbow Nov. 11 against Stanford, was quiet throughout much of the first half, but made her All-American presence felt in the final 20 minutes.

After the break, the Blue Devils simply left Mosqueda-Lewis open, and she made them pay to the tune of 21 points on 7 of 11 shooting – all from behind the arc.

The effort was by no means perfect by the Huskies – they turned the ball over 14 times, including miscues on three straight trips near the end of the first half – but it was more than enough to get the job done in a hostile, raucous Cameron Indoor that was packed to capacity.

Chelsea Gray, Duke’s leading scorer at over 18 points per game, was limited to 13 points.

The 22-point UConn win may have contributed to UConn’s dominance of the Blue Devils, but it actually lowered their average margin of victory in the last seven meetings between the two programs. The Huskies have won the matchups by an average of 28.2 points.

Next up for UConn is a trip to Madison Square Garden to take on California, a Final Four team from a season ago. That game is set to tip-off at 1:30 p.m. as the second half of the Maggie Dixon Classic doubleheader.

 

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