UConn Handles Temple 85-60 - NBC Connecticut
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UConn Handles Temple 85-60

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    NEWSLETTERS

    UConn Handles Temple 85-60

    Geno Auriemma and his UConn Huskies have rarely faced much of a challenge running through unranked teams over the past 12 years.

    The top-ranked Huskies have beaten 101 consecutive non-Top 25 teams since a loss to St. John's in 2012. Only one has been able to stay within single digits.

    Temple wasn't able to stay that close, but for 27 minutes the Owls scrapped, hustled and gave the Huskies all they could. They just didn't have enough firepower to pull off the monumental upset.

    "I don't think we did anything better than them," Auriemma said after the 85-60 victory on Sunday. "I told them at halftime, we're only up 10 points because we have three All-Americans on the floor and they don't. Some days you look around and say why did we win? We have better players than you do. When our better players play great it's hard to beat us."

    Moriah Jefferson had 25 points, eight assists and eight steals to lead UConn to its 61st straight win overall. Breanna Stewart added 24 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six blocks. Sophomore Gabby Williams added 19 points, hitting all nine of her shots, and 11 rebounds.

    For the most part games against unranked teams have been over by the half with UConn routing overmatched opponents by nearly 44.7 points a game. The Huskies (24-0, 13-0 American) only had a 10-point lead at the half but then Jefferson and Stewart took over.

    "(Stewart) and Moriah have a pretty good sense of what needs to be done," Auriemma said. "(They) made a lot of shots in the second half."

    UConn, which is 278-1 against non-ranked teams since December 2004, had won its first 12 conference games by an average of nearly 50 points a game. This one was different though. The Huskies opened a 25-16 lead early in the second quarter before the Owls rallied. Trailing 27-25 with 6:39 left in the half, Donnaizha Fountain blocked a shot by Stewart at one end of the court. After celebrating the block of the two-time AP player of the year, she came down and made a 3-pointer to give Temple a 28-27 lead. The Huskies then closed the half with a 13-2 run, including scoring the final 10 points of the period to go up 40-30 at the half.

    Temple (17-8, 11-3) was able to get within six points in the third quarter on a layup by Feyonda Fitzgerald, but could get no closer as UConn slowly pulled away behind its two senior All-Americas.

    Fountain scored 15 points and Alliya Butts added 14 for the Owls.

    "I'm super excited about my team's performance today," Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said. "For 3 1/2 quarters we really competed, really worked hard going against a giant — the best team in women's basketball. The way we conducted ourselves and handled ourselves is something we should be proud of. We fought and kept fighting."