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Women's Basketball: TOOTHLESS TIGERS

UConn tops Memphis for the second time in three weeks

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 23:01

Jon Kulakofsky

UConn’s sophomore guard Moriah Jefferson goes for a layup during Wednesday’s game against the Memphis Tigers at XL Center in Hartford. Jefferson and the Huskies topped the Tigers, 83-49, to improve to 20-0 (7-0 American) on the season.

The No.1 UConn women’s basketball team defeated Memphis 83-49 in their second matchup of the season. The Huskies remain undefeated and improve to 7-0 in the American Athletic Conference.

The Huskies started off a bit slow, missing their first six shots. It wasn’t until three minutes into the game that Breanna Stewart successfully made a layup. Although this seems like a minor detail, it is abnormal for UConn to be this inconsistent with their shooting and passing game.

“I still think we kind of got off to a slow start,” senior Bria Hartley said. “We wanted to start better than that, but we have to come out more focused and ready to play in the beginning of the game.”

The first half was ugly and not nearly as easy as their first 41-point victory over Memphis, but the last few minutes before halftime the Huskies seemed to show more ease. The Huskies backcourt was strong, allowing Memphis’ Breigha Wilder-Cochran and Asianna Fuqua-Bey to score only a mere six points each in the first half. The Tigers’ top scorer Ariel Hearn was hindered to only a mere seven points throughout the whole game, unlike the last match up where she scored 20 points against the Huskies.

“A lot of the stuff that we set out and wanted to do this season has gone out the window and we have kind of had to improvise,” head coach Geno Auriemma said. “We’ve had to do it different ways and we have kind of had to zig and zag and figure out a way to do it, but I’m proud of what we are doing defensively.”

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis lead the pack with 21 points and three assists, while Hartley followed close behind with 20 points and five assists. Moriah Jefferson had a whopping nine steals this game, while Stefanie Dolson had five and Steward had three.

“I’ve seen the last month or so Moriah get really involved defensively; be more aggressive, take more chances, try to do more things. You do that and good things happen more times than not,” Auriemma said. “She’s getting her hands on a lot of passes, shes getting her hands on a lot of loose balls…She’s become defensively kind of where it all starts for us.”

Though Memphis threw a few curveballs and some of the Huskies plays did not match up all the time, UConn’s backcourt was the key factor in the game allowing the victory to still be a wide margin. Their defense was the one thing that stayed consistent throughout the matchup.

“I think something we have been working on is defensively and making sure we are always in a stance or in the passing lane,” Stewart said. “I think that as we continue to get better there might be a bigger gap of maybe we are a better defensive team than offensive team but at the same time once we get steals defensively we are going on offense to score so its kind of a win-win.”

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