HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Memphis came into its game at top-ranked Connecticut with no illusions of extending a three-game winning streak.
The Tigers left on the short end of an 83-49 blowout Wednesday night, but with something to build on.
“You don’t go into your locker room at this stage and bang your hand on the chalkboard and say, ‘We’re going to beat UConn,’” coach Melissa McFerrin said. “That might sound stupid at this stage, but we have to talk about growing into this level of competition. We talked about competing for every rebound and we got outrebounded by one, so I think largely our players did that. The other thing I asked them to do was take care of the ball and limit our turnovers to 14. As we know, we didn’t, and that’s the difference.”
The Huskies had 20 steals and six blocks while forcing 27 Memphis turnovers.
“UConn, if you give the ball to them, they are going to score 2s and 3s almost every time,” McFerrin said.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 21 points and Bria Hartley added 20 to lead UConn (20-0, 7-0) to its 26th straight win dating to last year’s run to the program’s eighth NCAA championship. Breanna Stewart added 16 points and nine rebounds. Stefanie Dolson had 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals.
Hartley followed up a career-best 30-point performance Sunday by reaching double digits for the fourth consecutive game. It was the first time the senior has had back-to-back games of 20 points or more.
“I’m just out there trying to be aggressive,” she said. “Getting out in transition was kind of what I was good at today, and was able to get easy layups. Being aggressive all the time is what really helps me.”
Fuqua-Bey scored six of the Tigers’ first eight points, and 5 minutes into the game the Tigers were down just 11-8.
Mosqueda-Lewis capped a 14-2 run early in the second half with a 3-pointer that put UConn up 55-30, and a 3-pointer by Stewart gave the Huskies their first 30-point lead with just under 9 minutes to play.
It’s the 21st consecutive 20-win season for the Huskies, who had not been 20-0 since they went undefeated during the 2009-10 season. The Huskies have opened 20-0 eight times, winning national championships during five of those seasons.
UConn is working on a string of eight straight 30-win campaigns.
The win gave UConn a season sweep against the Tigers. UConn beat Memphis by 41 points when the teams met in Tennessee on Jan. 4. Mosqueda-Lewis also scored 21 points in that game.