TAMING THE TERRAPINS
UConn survives early test, toppling Maryland
Published: Monday, December 3, 2012
Updated: Monday, December 3, 2012 23:12
HARTFORD – The No. 2 UConn Huskies defeated the No. 11 Maryland Terrapins 63-48 for their seventh straight victory, in a physical contest at the XL Center in Hartford.
The Huskies got off to a quick start after the tipoff, opening up a 6-0 run off of three Maryland turnovers. Junior center Stefanie Dolson scored four points by the 16 minute mark in the first half. She finished the half with a total of eight points, behind freshman Breanna Stewart who led the Huskies with nine points in the first half. Dolson led the Huskies in total points on the night with 14. She also tailed two blocks and two steals.
Terrapin forward and reigning ACC player of the year, Alyssa Thomas could not get anything going for her team in the first half as she committed six turnovers and shot 0-5 from the field. She finished with just six points on the night due in part to the defensive efforts of UConn guard Kelly Faris.
“They didn’t do anything that we haven’t seen all year,” said Thomas. “It just came down to us not making shots.”
Faris finished her night with eight total points, shooting 4-6 from the field. She also tallied eight steals and seven boards.
Head coach Geno Auriemma was pleased with the dominant performance by Faris against a top ten opponent.
“It’s a great example of how someone can dominate a game with just six shots,” said Auriemma. “I felt that Kelly completely dominated the game.”
Sophomore forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis shot 3-7 from the field in the first half but did not return for the second half after suffering a quad contusion. Midway through the first half, the Terrapins cut the UConn lead to just five points. However the Huskies responded with a 10-0 run to extend their lead 27-15. The Huskies took a 33-20 lead into the locker room at half time and continued to play a fast tempo game in the second half.
The key play of the game came with 12:14 remaining in the second half when Maryland had cut the Huskies lead to 10 points. UConn junior guard Bria Hartley drove down the court and recorded a three point play in transition.
UConn sophomore guard Brianna Banks had an impressive night from behind the arc as she shot 3-4 from three point range. Banks has nine three pointers on the season, which is an improvement upon last year’s season total of three. According to Auriemma, Banks has improved her game more rapidly than he had expected.
“I don’t have any reservations about putting her in the game,” said Auriemma. “She has exceeded my expectations already. I thought it was going to take her half a year to use that transition from where she was last year to becoming the player that we can trust.”
Dolson reiterated Auriemma’s statements on the improvement of the play of her teammate Banks. “Her confidence has gone up a lot,” said Dolson. “She worked really hard in this offseason and preseason and she has improved her game immensely.”
The Huskies will be back in action this Thursday, when they take on Penn State at Gampel Pavilion. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m.