Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson had been impressive in practice and in games of late for No. 1 UConn. Coach Geno Auriemma rewarded her with her second start Saturday and she delivered her best performance yet.
Samuelson produced career-highs of 21 points, five made 3-pointers and six assists to help the Huskies roll to a 104-49 victory over Temple before 9,846 at Gampel Pavilion. The UConn starters did not play in the fourth quarter.
"I feel like today I had a really good shootaround and I felt confident from the start," Samuelson said. "So it just kind of worked out well. I felt like I was doing different things."
It was only the second home game of the season for the Huskies at their on-campus facility, their first since a 91-81 win over Notre Dame Dec. 5.
UConn (16-0, 6-0 AAC) has won 53 straight games, one behind Louisiana Tech (1980-82) for the third longest all-time.
Breanna Stewart led the Huskies with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.
UConn shot 54.7 percent from the field, making a season-high 13 3-pointers.
"Our guys like playing here, obviously," Auriemma said. " The last 25 years we've made a lot of shots in this building. When we do shoot the ball like we shot it today you really are out of answers for how to beat us."
Samuelson scored 13 points in the 17 minutes in the first half, including eight during a 24-0 run by the Huskies in the first quarter.
"She's been better in practice. She's been better in games," Auriemma said. "And, obviously, today was the best game she's played since she's been at Connecticut. And not just because she shot the ball well."
With the game tied 5-5 early on, Samuelson triggered the run by scoring off of a baseline drive and would add two 3-pointers as UConn held Temple scoreless for a span of 6:59.
The Owls missed 12 straight field goal attempts during this stretch.
"I think the best thing we did well is just kind of disrupting what they wanted to do in their offense," Stewart said. "And we did that by getting a hand in the passing lane a lot of the times and going for the steals. We were being aggressive on defense and it led to a lot of open 3s and layups."
UConn would finish the first half with a 16-3 run to open a 57-21 lead at halftime.
Moriah Jefferson added 11 points and five assists while Natalie Butler finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Alliya Butts led Temple with 12 points, six assists and three steals. The Owls (11-6, 5-2) shot 29.4 percent from the field.
"They're an unbelievable scoring team, but more importantly they play defense too," Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said. "They make it difficult for teams to score points. They got steals and that led to easy transition buckets. They made it tough for us because of how their defense was playing. It got us out of our offense and frustrated us."
Temple: Temple coach Tonya Cardoza served as an assistant coach at UConn from 1994-2008. The Huskies were a combined 465-41 with five national championships and eight Final Four appearances during her tenure. . Former UConn player and Willnett Crockett, who won two-time national championships at UConn, is an assistant coach under Cardoza.
UConn: UConn coach Geno Auriemma is 51-0 all-time against teams that feature a former UConn player or assistant coach on their staff. He is 6-0 against Cardoza. . Senior Moriah Jefferson moved into fifth place in team history with 296 steals.
Temple: The Owls host Penn on Thursday.
UConn: The Huskies host Central Florida on Wednesday.