By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) _ Breanna Stewart scored 20 points and top-ranked Connecticut beat No. 3 Louisville 72-52 on Monday night to win the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament.
With the victory, UConn (34-0) became the 14th team to enter the NCAA tournament without a loss. It’s the sixth time that the Huskies have accomplished that feat. They’ve gone on to win the national championship four of those years.
UConn got off to a quick start, scoring the first eight points of the game. Louisville trailed 28-20 with 6 minutes left in the first half before Stewart took over.
Her three-point play started a 12-2 run to close the half. Stewart, the tournament’s MVP, had seven points during the burst as UConn led 40-22 at the break.
Louisville (30-4) scored the first five points in second half, but could get no closer because of Stewart and the Huskies.
Bria Hartley added 16 points and Stefanie Dolson had 10 points and 16 rebounds for the Huskies, who have won 40 straight games _ the third-longest streak in school history.
Shoni Schimmel led Louisville with 20 points, but was 7 for 25 from the field. She had little help as no other Cardinals player reached double figures.
It’s the 19th conference tournament championship for the Huskies, who won their first 18 while a member of the Big East Conference.
Once again, Louisville had no answer for the Huskies, losing for the third time this season and the 16th straight time overall. The Cardinals have only beaten the Huskies once and that was in the first meeting between the schools back in 1993.
Coach Jeff Walz hopes that he doesn’t have to see UConn again until potentially the Final Four. The Cardinals are hosting a regional in the NCAA tournament and there is a chance that UConn could be sent down there as a one seed.
The teams likely won’t face off in conference action anymore, with Louisville heading to the ACC next season. Both sides hope to keep the series alive though.
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