It's been a busy 10 days for the UConn Huskies as they've played four games, including three against ranked teams.
They passed each test in different ways to stay unbeaten, with the latest victory coming thanks to a stellar defensive effort against No. 11 Florida State.
Morgan Tuck scored 18 points to lead a balanced offense and help No. 1 UConn beat the Seminoles 73-49 on Friday night in the Hall of Fame Showcase for their 45th straight victory.
"We want to put ourselves in as many situations as possible," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "There's going to be some things that we're going to have to accomplish and overcome. The streak that we've been through, we've seen just about everything there is to see."
The Huskies beat then-No. 23 DePaul by 16 before topping third-ranked Notre Dame by 10. In both those games UConn played a more fast-paced game, struggling to shut down their opponent. Auriemma wasn't happy with his team's defensive effort in those contests as the Huskies gave up 13 3-pointers in each game. Florida State only had three on Friday night.
"I think when we really pay attention to what the coaches want and stick to the scouting report, we can be great," Tuck said. "When we don't, we're not good at all."
The rest of the country may beg to differ, as no one has beaten UConn or even come within single digits of the Huiskies in the past calendar year.
The Huskies now have a week off for exams. It will give them a chance to get healthy and, more importantly, not travel.
"This comes at the perfect time," Auriemma said. "I don't ever remember a group of players getting excited about exams coming up. ... They know practice is really short next week. They get a chance to rehab, there's no travel, they get to sleep in their own bed. It's coming at a perfect time."
Breanna Stewart added 16 points, seven assists, six blocks and five steals for the Huskies (8-0), who led by two early on before slowly pulling away from Florida State. Freshman Napheesa Collier, who was making her first start of the season, scored six points in the first quarter as the Huskies went up 22-14 at the end of the period.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Stewart and Tuck gave UConn a 14-point lead early in the second quarter. The Huskies never let the Seminoles get within eight the rest of the way and saw their lead grow to over 20 in the fourth quarter.
Shakayla Thomas scored 16 to lead Florida State (7-2), which saw its seven-game winning streak snapped.
Florida State came into the game averaging 78.2 points and winning by 29 points a game. UConn clamped down defensively to hold the Seminoles to a season-low point total while forcing 26 turnovers.
"We'll get better from this and we'll learn, move forward from here," Seminoles coach Sue Semrau said. "We still haven't found an identity and leadership. If we want to be good, they'll choose."
Florida State did outrebound UConn 37-24.
Florida State: The Seminoles had won their previous 20 games in December. ... They are 0-14 against top-ranked teams, including a 38-point loss to Baylor in the NCAA Tournament two years ago. The Seminoles have never beaten UConn in eight tries, losing all the games by double figures.
UConn: The Huskies were missing Saniya Chong (IT Band) and Natalie Butler (thumb) because of injuries.
Moriah Jefferson got her 500th career assist early in the third quarter on a pass to Kia Nurse. She's the 10th UConn player to reach that plateau. Diana Taurasi holds the school record with 648.
FIFTH STARTER PRODUCTION
Auriemma was very happy with the way Collier and Gabby Williams played.
"I thought the combination of Napheesa and Gabby, that fifth spot in the lineup, had 10 points, 11 rebounds, and six steals," he said. "If one player did that you'd say it's pretty good."
Florida State: Hosts Mercer on Tuesday.