Morgan Tuck and her UConn teammates remembered their poor start against Tulane on senior day. They wouldn't let it happen again.
Katie Lou Samuelson scored 17 points and Tuck added 15 to help No. 1 UConn rout Tulane 82-35 in the American Athletic Conference semifinals on Sunday for the Huskies' 68th consecutive victory.
"We really wanted to make a point to have a good first five to 10 minutes," Tuck said. "As starters we didn't do a great job of that on senior night so we wanted to do that today."
In that game on Feb. 27, Tulane got off to a great start, going up 13-2 — the Huskies' biggest deficit during their current winning streak. UConn went on to win that game by 40 points.
The Huskies picked up where they left off from that game Sunday. They scored the game's first 14 points — Kia Nurse had seven — and didn't look back.
"We talked a lot about that," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "When you make shots it all looks like 'wow', you guys are really ready to play. When shots don't go in you came out flat. Today was the fact that we just made a lot of shots and played great defense."
Nurse finished with 12 points for UConn (31-0), which will play South Florida in the championship game on Monday night. Those two teams played last Monday to close out the regular season and South Florida held a 25-24 halftime lead. The Huskies won by 20.
On Sunday, the Green Wave (21-11) missed their first seven shots. Courtnie Latham finally got them on the scoreboard hitting a 3-pointer with 4:43 left in the first quarter. Tulane only had one other basket in the period, missing 10 of their 12 shots. UConn led by 23 points after the first quarter and 50-14 at halftime.
It didn't get much better as UConn extended the lead in the second half, leading by as many as 53 points. Coach Geno Auriemma rested his starters in the final quarter.
Latham scored 11 points to lead the Green Wave.
"I felt last game we competed very well, hoped we could build on that tonight," Tulane coach Lisa Stockton said. "We couldn't get it going. You can't start the game flat against them."