STORRS, Conn. (AP) - UConn doesn’t overlook anybody.
Kia Nurse scored a season-high 20 points as the top-ranked Huskies routed East Carolina 92-46 on Saturday in their final tuneup before a showdown with No. 2 South Carolina.
Breanna Stewart added 17 points and 10 rebounds for UConn (22-0, 12-0 American Athletic), which heads to Columbia on Monday with a 59-game winning streak, the third longest in team and NCAA history.
Moriah Jefferson chipped in with 16 points and dished out eight assists.
Coach Geno Auriemma said his team knows who they play on Monday, but wasn’t going to use that as an excuse for taking Saturday off.
“You’re 20 years old, you’ve got 39 of these (games) if you’re lucky,” Auriemma said. “The most important thing you’re doing is the thing you’re doing right now.”
UConn never trailed. The Huskies scored the game’s first 14 points, led 52-23 at halftime and ended the third quarter on a 19-4 run to lead 80-35 after 30 minutes.
Nurse, who didn’t score during UConn’s 96-38 win at Tulane on Wednesday, hit eight of her 11 shots. The sophomore also was 4 of 7 from 3-point range.
She said getting out of her slump was as simple as putting it out of her mind.
“When I don’t think as much, I always play better,” she said.
The Huskies shot 55 percent, holding ECU to 38 percent.
A steal and breakaway layup by Stewart in the second quarter gave her 200 steals for her career. She joins Maya Moore as the only Huskies with at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 assists, 200 steals and 200 blocked shots and is just the seventh woman in Division I to accomplish that feat.
Jada Payne had 15 points and I’Tiana Taylor scored 12 to lead East Carolina (9-14, 3-8 American), which has lost four straight.
Payne, who made 7 of 10 shots, moved into fifth place on the Pirates’ career scoring list with 1,580 points. She passed Debbie Freeman, who scored 1,570 points from 1974-78.
“Jada has been an incredible player for our program,” said East Carolina coach Heather Macy. “We’re hoping, and feel confident, that she’ll be our first ever WNBA Draft pick. I was really pleased for her.”
The Pirates turned the ball over 24 times during the game, becoming the eighth straight UConn opponent with at least 20 giveaways
UConn came into the game beating opponents by an average of more than 41 points. Conference opponents have fared worse, losing by more than 49 points.
The South Carolina game is expected to be much closer. But in their six games this season against ranked teams, the Huskies’ margin of victory is still 20 points.
But Stewart said they don’t go in thinking of themselves as the favorite.
“It’s going to be crazy,” said Stewart. “And that’s what you want.”
East Carolina: This was East Carolina’s first regular-season meeting with a No. 1 ranked team since the Pirates played Duke in November 2002. The Pirates are 0-4 against UConn, which was ranked No. 2 during their two regular-season meetings a year ago.
UConn: The Huskies also improved to 54-0 in the history of the American Athletic Conference, including a 48-0 mark in the regular season and 6-0 through two conference tournaments. … This was just the Huskies third game at Gampel Pavilion this season. The Huskies have won 90 of their last 92 games at their on-campus home and will play the remainder of their home games in Storrs this season.
DOUBLE FIGURES AGAIN
Stewart recorded her 34th career double-double and it was the 119th in her 140 games at UConn that she has reached double figures. She also hit all three of her foul shots and now has made 24 straight from the line.
East Carolina: The Pirates travel to Texas to take on SMU on Tuesday night.
UConn: The Huskies visit South Carolina for a showdown with the No. 2 Gamecocks on Monday night.
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