Huskies Make Duck Soup
By PAT EATON-ROBB Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Diana Taurasi never had one, neither did Maya Moore, Rebecca Lobo or a myriad other former UConn superstars.
Stefanie Dolson recorded just the second triple-double in Connecticut history Wednesday night, with a career-high 26 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists as the top-ranked Huskies ran away from Oregon 114-68.
“For me, I’ve always been a good passer, but ever since getting here I’ve gotten better at scoring, gotten better at rebounding,” the 6-foot-5 center said. “I’m just very proud of myself, and very proud of my teammates for finding me and allowing me to get this tonight.”
Breanna Stewart added 28 points and eight rebounds and Bria Hartley 17 points, six rebounds, and six assists for UConn (5-0). UConn dressed just nine players due to injuries, and six Huskies scored in double figures.
Freshman Chrishae Rowe had 27 for the Ducks (2-2), just over her season average. Jillian Alleyne, who sprained an ankle Sunday and wasn’t expected to play, added 15 points.
The Huskies never trailed. They used a 13-2 run to open up an early 18-point lead and ran away from there.
Oregon coach Paul Westhead had his run-and-gun team averaging almost 110 points a game this season. But the Huskies held the Ducks to 31 percent shooting, blocked 12 shots and outscored Oregon in the paint 64-28.
“They are a very good team,” said Westhead. “They shot the ball well. Was it 90 percent they made, or just 65?”
It was actually 64 percent. The 114 point was the most the Huskies had scored since putting up 117 on Holy Cross on Nov. 14, 2010.
“I liked the pace,” said Stewart. “There was times when you got a little tired, but that’s what the media timeouts are great for.”
Coach Geno Auriemma played Dolson late into the second half to get her milestone. She passed the ball to Kiah Stokes for a short jumper with 1:20 left to record her 10th assist and got another one on a jumper by walk-on Briana Pulido a few seconds later.
The only other triple-double in UConn history was recorded by Laura Lishness, a 6-foot guard, in 1989. Auriemma said Dolson’s feat shows what a complete player his center has become.
“She guards people without fouling. She scores inside, outside,” he said. “She helps break pressure. She’s our leader on the floor. Her personality is what drives our team.”
The most points Connecticut has ever scored in a game is 126, in 1998 against Providence. The Huskies seemed poise to challenge that early, putting up 62 in the first half against the Ducks.
UConn used an 11-0 run to open up a 13-2 lead just three minutes into the game. Oregon closed the gap to seven before the Huskies made a 13-2 run to stretch it back out to 28-10.
A three-point play by Dolson gave the Huskies their first 20-point lead at 42-22, just over 12 minutes into the game. The senior who had not scored more than 16 points in any of the Huskies first four games, had 17 at halftime as UConn led 62-35.
Moriah Jefferson had 14 points for UConn. Stokes added 12 points and 13 rebounds and Brianna Banks had 10 points.
UConn’s opponents had been averaging 56 shot attempts per game. The Ducks attempted 88, 52 in the first half, but made just 27 of them.
“I don’t even think that’s schoolyard basketball,” Auriemma quipped. “Where I grew up, if you played like that, you wouldn’t be allowed to play anymore, because some of the shots that they take are just indescribable.”
A layup by Stokes gave UConn a 93-53 lead midway through the second half.
The biggest shock of the night came when the Ducks got a shot clock violation with 6:08 left in the first half. It wasn’t for lack of trying to score as they had their shot blocked three times during the possession. It was the first violation of the season for the Ducks.
Connecticut was coming off wins over three ranked teams in the last 10 days, and starting a string for four games in five days against unranked opponents.
The Huskies are hosting Boston University, Monmouth and St. Bonaventure in the Hall of Fame Challenge this weekend.
Westhead’s Ducks came in having attempted 266 shots in three games and broke the Pac-12 scoring record in their season opener, a 131-91 win over Cal State Bakersfield. Five Ducks came in averaging double figures, led by Rowe’s 26 points per game.
The Huskies beat Stanford, Maryland and Penn State by an average of more than 18 points, despite playing the last two games without Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Morgan Tuck. Mosqueda-Lewis, a preseason All American, sustained a nerve contusion to her elbow during the Maryland game, and Tuck undergoing minor surgery to repair cartilage in her right knee. Both are expected to miss about a month.
The Huskies will have played 10 games by Dec. 5 and will have just 12 more before February.
The win comes the same day UConn announced a four-member signing class for next season. Kia Nurse, Courtney Ekmark, Sadie Edwards and Gabby Williams all are guards, though Nurse and Ekmark both are 6-foot tall.
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