After defeating Cincinnati in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament on Saturday, Geno Auriemma said he liked the matchup with East Carolina because they were a good defensive team and could get offensive rebounds.
Auriemma said that East Carolina had a group of athletes who can play different ways, but the Pirates had a hard time defending against the Huskies on Sunday.
The Huskies ripped the Pirates’ defense to shreds on Sunday evening, from inside the paint and beyond the 3-point arc, as they steam rolled their way into the conference tournament final with a 106-56 win.
“I’m feeling great,” Moriah Jefferson said about how the offense is playing. “We came out the first 10 minutes, (it) was incredible. We were sharing the ball, everybody was knocking in shots.”
The Huskies jumped out to a 14-4 lead to start the game, all from layups. They eventually stretched that margin to 43-9 with 6:20 left in the first half. For a majority of the half, UConn didn’t miss. The Huskies were shooting over 80 percent until Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had a 3-point attempt blocked at the buzzer to drop them below 80 percent for the half.
“Sometimes the ball just doesn’t seem like it’s going to miss,” Breanna Stewart said. “When we were on that kind of run we were just having fun and we had confidence that every shot, we were going to make.”
UConn (31-1) finished the half shooting 77 percent from the floor and led East Carolina 62-22 at halftime.
For the second consecutive game, Mosqueda-Lewis led all scorers at half time, this time with 19 points. She shot five of six from 3-point range and moved her way into the Top 10 on the NCAA all-time 3-point field goal list.
She is now up to 380 career 3-pointers, sitting 13 away from breaking the all-time NCAA record of 392.
Although East Carolina (21-10) did not quit in the second half, the Huskies were able to shoot 54 percent to cruise into the conference finals.
“I think we just shot really well and we were executing and doing the things we were supposed to do,” Morgan Tuck said. “I think when we were flowing together, that’s when we make more shots.”
Moriah Jefferson scored 20 points and six assists. Breanna Stewart added 16 points and nine rebounds. Morgan Tuck added 15 and Gabby Williams scored 12 points off the bench.
On a Kiah Stokes layup with 5:27 to play, the Huskies reached 99 points and in the process eclipsed the program record for most points scored in a conference game. The previous high was 98 points against Miami on March 3, 1997.
UConn’s 106 points were the highest point total this season, passing their 102 points scored during the season opener against UC Davis.
The Huskies finished shooting a season-best 61.1 percent from the floor.
“I think we’re just bringing a lot of aggressiveness,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “Whenever we’re hitting from the outside, we’re able to get it inside to Morgan and Stewie and really kill them from the inside also.”