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UConn Leads Wire-to-Wire To Defeat Ninth-Ranked Maryland

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UConn women versus Maryland  12-3-12(Tristano Korlou/WTIC Photo)

UConn women versus Maryland 12-3-12(Tristano Korlou/WTIC Photo)

By DOUG FEINBERG,  AP Basketball Writer

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ UConn senior Kelly Faris’ strong play
doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet. It was hard to miss her
Monday night.

Faris had eight points, eight steals, seven rebounds and seven
assists in No. 2 Connecticut’s 63-48 victory over No. 9 Maryland in
the Jimmy V Classic.

“I said it 100 times, I’m always amazed that none of the Big
East coaches vote her for anything,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma
said. “They are stuck with the guys they have and we have the
record we have because of her. Someone can dominate a game and take
six shots. Kelly completely dominated the game. She has an impact
that goes beyond the stat sheet. When you look at the stat sheet
there’s a whole bunch of stuff there, her impact is greater than
that.”

Stefanie Dolson scored 14 points and Breanna Stewart added 13 to
lead the Huskies (7-0).

“She is by far our toughest player,” Dolson said of Faris.
“She does everything on the floor. Even if she doesn’t get credit
for a steal she most likely tipped the ball to make the play.”

Trailing by 13 at halftime, Maryland whittled its deficit down
to seven before UConn scored eight straight points, including a
3-pointer by Brianna Banks and a three-point play by Bria Hartley.
Kiah Stokes capped the run with a lay-in midway through the second
half. Faris had a hand in all eight points during the run with an
assist, steal and rebound.

“Faris makes play after play,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese
said. “She’s so tough and physical.

“That was a tough sequence. Banks was spectacular. That’s what
Connecticut does. They give you that knockout punch and you see
teams never recover. I love the fact we were able to withstand a
lot of those runs and were able to keep competing.”

Maryland, which had a season-high 26 turnovers, couldn’t get
within single digits the rest of the way.

Tianna Hawkins scored 14 points and freshman Chloe Pavlech added
a season-high 10 to lead the Terrapins (4-2), who have come the
closest to UConn this season. No team had been within 30 points
before Monday.

The Terrapins were playing without guards Laurin Mincy and Brene
Moseley. Both suffered ACL injuries this season. Mincy tore the ACL
in her right knee early in the second half of Maryland’s win over
Nebraska last Wednesday. Moseley injured her left knee on Oct. 21.
Moseley was the third ACL injury for the Terps this season. Senior
center Essence Townsend tore hers in an exhibition game in early
October.

Without the guards, Maryland couldn’t take care of the
basketball. The Terps came into the game averaging only 16
turnovers a contest.

“That was one of the things I told our team in the locker
room,” Frese said. “I was most disappointed in how much we turned
the ball over. A lot came in our press break.”

UConn couldn’t take advantage early of the miscues. Leading
17-8, Maryland scored seven straight points to make it a two-point
game. Stewart finally ended a 51/2-minute drought scoring seven
straight points during a 10-0 run by the Huskies. She started it
with a 3-pointer and connected on a falling down layup, following
up her own miss. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis capped the burst with a
3-pointer that made it 27-15. The Huskies led 33-20 at halftime.

Mosqueda-Lewis didn’t return for the second half after bruising
a left quad. She missed the Huskies’ previous game against Colgate
after suffering a concussion against Purdue on Nov. 24.

Auriemma said his sophomore guard is “doubtful” for Thursday’s
game against No. 10 Penn State.

Monday’s game had special meaning for Frese, whose 4-year-old
son Tyler continues to battle leukemia.

“It means a lot,” Frese said. “Obviously, there was no
question when we got the invite that we knew we wanted to play in
it. And, obviously, for me personally with my son, Tyler, going
through leukemia and with his diagnosis and his treatment I think
it just helps us to be able to with a national audience and on TV
to bring even more awareness to all the people out there that are
battling cancer. And, obviously, our family is one that’s directly
impacted, but the fact that we can play a game and bring exposure
is really important and we’re just really fortunate to be a part of
it.”

The teams will play again in the Jimmy V Classic next season at
Maryland. This was the first meeting between the programs. UConn
continued its domination of ACC opponents, winning its 20th
straight over ACC teams, winning by an average of 28.0 points.

___
Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at

http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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