UConn Huskies Win Season Opener - NBC Connecticut
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UConn Huskies Win Season Opener

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    NEWSLETTERS

    UConn Huskies Win Season Opener

    UConn picked up where it left off last season in its season opener.

    The top-ranked Huskies routed No. 7 Ohio State 100-56 on Monday night.

    "It's the first game of the year but at the same time we've got four starters back," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said of his team which has won three straight national championships.

    The quartet that beat Notre Dame 63-53 on April 7 to win a third straight title was back in force.

    Breanna Stewart had 24 points, Moriah Jefferson 21, Kia Nurse 16 and Morgan Tuck 15. Also, new starter Gabby Williams had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

    "They should be able to look like they've played together awhile because they have played together awhile," Auriemma said.

    Ohio State (0-2), coming off an 88-80 loss at No. 2 South Carolina on Friday, trailed by three with just over two minutes left in the first quarter before the Huskies took over.

    At one point of the second period the Huskies hit eight straight field goals and 10 of 11 and led 50-24 at the half.

    "We got our (rear) kicked tonight," Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. "They were coached better. They played better. They were more prepared. They deserved to win by the margin they did."

    Shayla Cooper led Ohio State with 17 points. All-American guard Kelsey Mitchell, who had 36 points against South Carolina and last season became the first freshman to lead the nation in scoring with a 24.9 average, picked up two fouls in the opening minutes.

    She had eight points on 2 of 14 shooting from the floor.

    "She didn't have a great night but they did a great job defending her," McGuff said.

    UConn started the game scoring 10 of the first 12 points with half of the by Nurse. But the Buckeyes worked their way back into the game. A jumper from the left corner by Alexa Hart brought Ohio State to within 18-15 but those would be the last points of the quarter as the Huskies ran off six straight for a 24-15 lead.

    The Huskies hit 37 of 65 from the floor (56.9 percent) and outrebounded the Buckeyes 49-29 and had 14 fast break points compared to 2 for Ohio State.

    "They're a great team," Cooper said. "We have to learn from this game and get better."

    TIP-IN

    UConn: The teams have met three times and the Huskies have been ranked first in all. They won the previous games 81-50 in 2010 and 70-49 in 2013. UConn is 48-10 against top 10 teams since the start of the 2008-09 season. The Huskies are 33-9 in road openers.

    Ohio State: The Buckeyes lost their home opener for the first time in 17 games, back to a 92-84 loss to Kentucky in 1998. Ohio State is 2-16 against Associated Press No. 1 teams with both victories coming in the 1987-88 season.

    BETTER START

    Cooper went 2 for 17 in the opener at South Carolina but came out firing against the Huskies, hitting four of her first six shots, including a three-pointer, in the first quarter for nine of Ohio State's 15 points.

    STICK TO IT

    McGuff is in his third season at Ohio State and is rebuilding the program in manner that Auriemma appreciates. He lauded McGuff for scheduling UConn twice already. "He's a competitive guy. That's how you build a program," Auriemma said. "That's what I told him, 'Kevin. There's no losers tonight. You're fans are going to get a chance to see you win and beat one of the best teams in the country or they're going to see one of the best teams in the country and go, yea, that's what Kevin wants to do here.' "

    NEXT

    UConn: The Huskies play their first home game Nov. 23 vs. Kansas State.

    Ohio State: The Buckeyes host Belmont on Thursday.