STORRS, Conn. (AP) - UConn still has a few active winning streaks.
Katie Lou Samuelson scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on Wednesday night as the No. 3 Huskies routed Cincinnati 82-38 to remain unbeaten in league play since the formation of the American Athletic Conference.
Freshman Christyn Williams scored 15 of her 19 points in the first half and Crystal Dangerfield added 11 points and 10 assists. Napheesa Collier scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Huskies (13-1, 2-0 American), who spent a month on the road before being able to notch their 83rd straight home win. During that road trip, UConn saw its 126-game regular season winning streak end at Baylor.
“You can tell we love playing here,” Samuelson said. “It’s felt like forever since we actually got a home game.”
Antoinette Miller scored 16 points for Cincinnati (9-6, 1-1), which lost for the first time in five games. Iimar’i Thomas, who had scored at least 20 points in each of her previous four games, was held to just nine.
“We struggled some from the beginning,” said first-year coach Michelle Clark-Heard. “I felt like we came back and tried to regroup but they are such a great team.”
The Huskies jumped on the Bearcats early. A 3-pointer from Williams less than five minutes into the game capped a 17-0 start for the Huskies. The freshman had 10 points in the quarter and hit six of her first seven shots from the floor.
“I was just comfortable tonight,” Williams said. “I was just going with the flow of the game and Crystal did a great job getting the ball up in transition early on.”
Dangerfield’s 3-pointer from the left wing gave the Huskies their first 30-point lead at 39-9 and they were up 49-19 at halftime.
UConn improves to 103-0 against the rest of the American Athletic Conference since its formation in 2013, including 88-0 in the regular season.
The Huskies also have won 83 straight home games. They haven’t lost at Gampel Pavilion in six years, since falling 73-72 to Notre Dame on Jan. 5, 2013.
The Huskies held Cincinnati to just 15 baskets on 51 shots (29.4 percent), forced 20 turnovers and won the rebounding battle 43-30.
“We were more aggressive defensively tonight than we have been in a while,” said coach Geno Auriemma. “And because the ball went in the basket, it allowed us to set up some thing we wanted to work on. I thought we did a lot of good things tonight and our defense started it all.”
Cincinnati: The Bearcats have never beaten UConn, falling to 0-20 against the Huskies since 2006.
UConn: The Huskies last played a home game on Dec. 8, a 99-61 win over Seton Hall at the XL Center in Hartford. UConn had not played on campus since their Nov. 11 opener, an 85-53 win over Ohio State.
This was the first time the teams met since Auriemma tweeted out criticism over Cincinnati’s firing of former coach Jamelle Elliott. Elliott, a former UConn player and assistant coach, led the Bearcats to a 19-13 record last season, their best record in 15 years, and back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2005-07. She has since been hired as an assistant athletic director at UConn. Elliott sat next to Auriemma’s wife during the game, cheering loudly for the Huskies.
PLAYER FRIENDLY SCHEDULES
UConn continues its tradition of scheduling non-conference games near the hometowns of its players. The Huskies announced a deal will have them play Arkansas-Little Rock for the first time in a home-and-home series. The teams will play in Connecticut during the 2020-21 season and in Little Rock during the 2021-22 season. Williams starred at Central Arkansas Christian High School in North Little Rock.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats travel to Florida for a game Sunday at UCF
UConn: The Huskies stay on campus to take on South Florida on Sunday.
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