And just like that, barely a week after they arrived in Italy, the UConn women's team heads home with plenty of memories and a 4-0 exhibition record against teams that seemed like good match-ups on paper but proved to be anything but in real life.
After dominating TDT Slammers of Germany, 112-36 earlier in the week, the Huskies faced them again Wednesday for a quarter, before the Slammers gave way to the Castellanza Select for the final three quarters. The opponent didn't matter; UConn won 116-33, with eight players scoring at least 10 points.
Tiffany Hayes led all scorers with 18 points on 9-of-14 shooting, and she was an assist and a rebound shy of a triple-double.
More jaw-dropping stats, courtesy of UConnHuskies.com: the team shot 82 percent from the field inside the arc (although they were just 1 of 17 behind the line), held the opposition to 22 percent shooting, and most impressive -- they didn't allow a single offense rebound.
Additional details via the university website:
Connecticut was originally scheduled to play against the Nigerian National Team but the Nigerians were unable to secure visas in time to compete against the Huskies. … Freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists while Michala Johnson, Stefanie Dolson and Kiah Stokes scored 14 points. Dolson and Stokes were each a spotless 7-for-7 from the floor.
Sophomore Bria Hartley struggled to find her shot on the exhibition tour but she was solid all week running the point. With all the talent around her -- both in the paint and on the perimeter -- the Huskies don't need Hartley to score 15 points every night. They need her to play outstanding defense, minimize turnovers, and distribute the ball. And we already know she can do that.
Thursday is the Huskies' last day in Italy and they'll spend it sightseeing before heading back to the States where the real work begins. With the trip, coach Geno Auriemma wanted to expose his players to another culture and play some basketball, too. We have to think he accomplished everything he set out to, and maybe more.