LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Geno Auriemma didn’t what kind of performance he’d get out of his UConn team Wednesday night, but he said the top-ranked Huskies played very well in routing Nebraska 84-41 to take their 86th consecutive victory.
“I didn’t necessarily expect us, coming off exams and then the Ohio State game, that we were going to play exceptionally well,” Auriemma said. “But I thought for long stretches we did a lot of great stuff. I thought we played really, really well today. We played exceptionally well defensively almost the entire game. I’m really, really happy with the way things went.”
As for the winning streak, the second longest in NCAA women’s basketball history behind the 90 straight UConn won from 2008-11, Auriemma said it’s not on his mind.
“I’m not even thinking about it,” he said. “I don’t think anybody on our team is thinking about it. What’s the difference if we win 90 or 91 or 92, who cares? We already won 90. My life’s not going to change one bit. If we lose, we lose. It’s not going to matter. It’s not like it’s the first time we’ve gone through this.”
The Huskies (11-0) were never challenged by Nebraska (4-8), which hit just one of its first 10 shots against the stout UConn defense. UConn jumped out to a 7-0 lead on Samuelson’s 3-pointer 2 ½ minutes into the game, went up 10 on Kia Nurse’s jumper with 3:26 left in the first quarter and led 22-7 at the end of the first period.
The Huskies’ largest lead was 48 at 78-30 early in the fourth period.
UConn’s aggressive defense throttled Nebraska from the opening tip, forcing 24 turnovers, 16 of them in the first half. That, Nebraska coach Amy Williams said, was key to the game.
“When you just look at it and see 31 points off of turnovers, not only do they turn you over, but then they really make you pay by just shoving it down your throat,” she said. “It’s really uncanny the way they turn your mistakes into positives and points for them.”
Napheesa Collier had 14 points and 15 rebounds while Gabby Williams had 10 points and nine boards for the Huskies.
Hannah Whitish led Nebraska with nine points.
A DINNER INVITATION
WIlliams met Auriemma for the first time before Wednesday’s game. After welcoming him back to Lincoln, where UConn won a pair of games in the regionals of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, she asked from some advice from the veteran coach.
“I just asked him if he had any advice for a new coach,” she said. “I wish I could sit down and have a long dinner with him and pick his brain for several hours. It was fun to meet him today.”
UConn: UConn has now won 29 consecutive road games, dating to an overtime loss to Stanford in Nov. 2014. The Huskies have won 99 straight road games against unranked opponents, dating to a loss at Arizona State in Dec. 2004.
Nebraska: The Huskers are playing what is likely the toughest schedule in school history. Nebraska has now lost to three undefeated teams, UConn, No. 23 Virginia Tech and California. Nebraska’s strength of schedule was No. 27 nationally before Wednesday’s game.
UConn: travels to No. 4 Maryland on Dec. 29 for what could be their toughest game left on the schedule
Nebraska: hosts Northwestern on Dec. 28.
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