Connecticut guard Bria Hartley (14) shoots against SMU guard Gabrielle Wilkins (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Geno Auriemma's Huskies ran their record to 29-0 and 16-0 in the American Athletic Conference Tuesday night with their latest blowout victory, this time a 81-48 win over SMU in Dallas.
Senior Bria Hartley led all scorers with 25 points, and she also had seven rebounds. It's her third straight game with at least 20 points, a feat she has accomplished in four of her last six contests. And her contributions haven't gone unnoticed by Auriemma.
"Right now, she is the one who has got it going," the coach said, via the Hartford Courant. 'I am thrilled for her. She is playing at a high level right now on both ends of the floor."
Sophomore Breanna Stewart added 23 points (together with Hartley they equaled SMU's 48-point total for the night) while senior center Stefanie Dolson led the way with nine rebounds.
UConn held the Mustangs to 21.9 percent shooting in the first half and took a 37-17 lead into the break. But it took an 11-0 run to get things going after a slow start.
"It was a weird first half," the coach said. "We get off to great starts so often that when we don't, we seem to get out of our rhythm and do things too quickly. We couldn't get any shots to drop. And once Stefanie came out [with two fouls] we really struggled in the half-court offense."
The Huskies cruised in the final 20 minutes, outscoring the Mustangs 44-31 while shooting 47 percent from the floor, all without two of their most important players: Morgan Tuck and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. The former is out for the season with a knee injury, the latter is recovering from mononucleosis.
"We're a little tired," Auriemma admitted. "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."
Next up: UConn hosts Rutgers Saturday before wrapping up the regular season in Louisville Monday.