Bria Hartley (25 points, seven rebounds) and Breanna Stewart (23 points, five boards,five assists, four blocked shots and two steals), led the UConn Huskies to a resounding 81-48 victory over Southern Methodist before 4,091 fans at Moody Coliseum in Dallas on Tuesday night. The Huskies, who last lost to Notre Dame in the 2013 Big East tournament championship game, improved to 29-0 on the season, 15-0 in the American Athletic Conference.
The Mustangs held close early, trailing by just five points—22-17—with just over four minutes remaining until halftime, but the Huskies broke the game open by scoring the last 15 points of the half, taking a 20-point lead into the locker room at intermission. The run was fueled by Stewie, who started the streak with a 15-foot jumper and contributed two transition buckets to the game-changing run, and sophomore guard Moriah Jefferson, who added seven points in the streak. It was a homecoming of sorts for Jefferson, a Glenn Heights, Tex., native who scored nine points in the game.
"We had to settle ourselves down but at the same time, there were times we weren't moving at all," said Stewart. "Just running our offense because we know it. We know we can get every shot we want."
Keena Mays, the Mustangs' leading scorer with 13 points, opened the second half scoring with a layup 33 seconds in, but the Huskies, who defeated SMU by 61 points at Gampel Pavilion on Feb. 4, proceeded to go on a 17-5 run over the next six minutes to put the game completely out of reach.
"We're a little tired," said Uconn head coach Geno Auriemma. "I think it starts to get to you... the travel and just mentally. But there's nothing you can do about it. Every other team is going through the same thing."
The Huskies now return home where they will host Rutgers at Gampel on Saturday. Tip-off is at 4 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network. It can also be heard around the state on the UConn IMG Radio Network.
Earlier in the week Jefferson and Hartley were named among 22 finalists for the 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award. The list is narrowed to five finalists in March, and the winner will be announced at the NCAA Final Four in April. The Lieberman Award is given out annually to the top point guard in women's college basketball. Sue Bird (three times), Diana Taurasi (twice) and Renee Montgomery are former Lieberman winners.