- Associated Press - Saturday, February 22, 2014

HOUSTON (AP) - Houston played Connecticut close for the first 10½ minutes. The top-ranked Huskies were simply too much after that.

Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson scored 24 points apiece and UConn beat Houston 92-41 on Saturday, extending the Huskies’ winning streak to 34 games.

Dolson also had nine rebounds and Breanna Stewart added 16 points, seven boards and five assists as UConn (28-0, 15-0 American Athletic Conference) used a big run to end the first half and cruised to the win in coach Geno Auriemma’s 1,000th game at the school. Auriemma improved to 867-133 with the Huskies.

“They were good; I thought they were good in the second half,” Houston interim coach Wade Scott said of the Huskies. “The first half I thought they were good. They are playing short right now with some kids that are injured. I know Breanna Stewart gets three fouls in the first half but they’re good, they’re legit.”

Te’onna Campbell had 15 points, and Jessieka Palmer added 12 points as Houston (5-22, 1-15) lost its fourth straight and 18th of the last 20.

“Te’onna is a warrior,” Scott said. “If she was a gladiator she would be Maximus because the girl just bounced. You’ve got to be pleased with that kid. I mean she made some mistakes, but I can live with them.”

Houston added a few kinks to its lineup against Connecticut, with Palmer starting for just the second time this season and playing point guard for the second straight game. Tyler Gilbert also got her first career start and Taylor Gilbert saw six minutes of action off the bench, scoring four points, in just her second game this season and first since December 1.

“I was pleased with Taylor,” Scott said. “She came in, she’s got great hands, she made some great catches, finished twice around the basket. We could shore up that defense a little bit, but she is going to be ok. I thought Taylor did very well coming in and playing against the No. 1 team in the country.”

Houston, which never led, stayed with Connecticut until the Huskies pulled away with a 21-3 run to end the first half.

After the Cougars closed to 19-13 on Campbell’s jumper with 9:32 left in the opening half, Connecticut turned up the defense, scoring the next 11 points before Yasmeen Thompson’s free throw and opened up a 40-16 halftime lead on Moriah Jefferson’s layup with 11 seconds remaining.

Houston did not hit a field goal for an 8-minute stretch until Campbell’s layup with 1:35 left in the half. The Cougars missed 15 of their last 16 shots to end the half and 12 straight before Campbell’s layup.

Dolson had 10 points in the late first-half run for Connecticut, and Hartley added six.

“They are a good team, like coach said they’re pretty legit,” Palmer said. “It’s not too many things that they don’t do well so playing them is a challenge but I felt like my team did the best they could.”

Hartley passed Tiffany Hayes for 10th place on UConn’s career scoring list with a layup with 7:38 remaining. Hartley now has 1,802 points, putting her 63 behind Svetlana Abrosimova for ninth.

The Huskies shot 64 percent from the field, including 80 percent in the second half.

Connecticut’s winning streak is the fourth-longest in school history, one behind the Huskies’ 35-game run from Nov. 26, 1994-April 2, 1995.

The Huskies’ lead grew to as many as 51 points in the second half.

Despite the loss, Scott said Houston’s goals remain the same.

“I think our goal is the same as always: Our goal is to win, number one, and number two our goal is to play as hard as we can, and to play as a team,” Scott said. “Those are our three goals right there.”

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