– DePaul flew halfway across the country Sunday morning – one day later than expected.
The team was picked up at Bradley International Airport by a bus for the drive to UConn – 30 minutes later than projected.
Then, the Blue Demons returned to Chicago immediately after the game – 13 hours door-to-door, if they weren't delayed more than anticipated.
So, sinister forces conspired to ruin a team's day?
"Well, they got to Connecticut at about 8," Geno Auriemma kidded. "My buddy was their bus driver, and he didn't pick them up until 1 p.m."
There are good days and bad days during every college basketball season and, frankly, Sunday was one DePaul likely wished could have been spent under a blanket clutching a mug of hot chocolate.
But the Big East, the university and ESPNU felt the show must go on, even though school had already been canceled for Monday and the threat of snow sliding off the Gampel roof was strong enough to cordon off traffic trying access the stadium from Hillside Road.
And everyone but DePaul got what they needed. The No. 3 Huskies rolled 91-44 before a nice crowd of 8,861.
"The day was like the two hours that transpired between 3:30 and 5:30 [game time]," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "We got it handed to us. I didn't expect us to beat them, which is hard enough for me to say. But I did expect us to do the little things better."
The Huskies (22-1, 9-1) were led by junior center Stefanie Dolson. Dolson scored 23 points, 22 in the first half. She added five rebounds and six assists. She barely played in the second half costing her a chance to approach her career high (25) set early this season against Syracuse.
"As an upperclassman, it's important to me to come out and have a good start," Dolson said. "Setting a tone like that helps the underclassmen understand that having a couple of days off [because of the snow] shouldn't affect you."
Bria Hartley added 18 points and seven rebounds just four days after scoring 20 against Marquette. After a long shooting slump this season, Hartley, the WBCA All-American, has now made 14 of her past 23 shots.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added eight points and seven rebounds. UConn outrebounded DePaul 49-27 and held the Blue Demons to 16 of 61 from the field (26.2) and 7 of 31 from three (22.6).
DePaul (17-7, 6-4) was led by Megan Rogowski, who scored 12 points.
Leading scorer Brittany Hrynko (16.2) scored just three points, all on first-half free throws. She was 0-for-15 from the field.
"The simple answer is that we really work hard at [stopping the other team's star]," Auriemma said.
And Katherine Harry, the Big East's leading rebounder – only player in the league averaging double figures – did not have a rebound.
"That is what happens," Bruno said. "It's a function of the [UConn] defense."
Bruno, in his trademark shirt with the embroidered DePaul crest, took it all in stride, just another day in his long career. He cajoled when it was required and just smiled a knowing smile the rest of the long afternoon.
And what a day it was for Dolson, especially at the free throw line, where she made her first 10 tries before missing. Dolson had made 22 of 25 since the Syracuse game on Jan. 19.
"Big guys get fouled a lot, and a post player that can't shoot free throws is the same as creating a turnover," Auriemma said.
She scored 22 points in the first half, shooting 6 of 8 from the field and 9 of 9 from the free throw line. One of Dolson's field goals was her sixth three-pointer of the season, one that bounced high into the air of the back rim and then straight threw the net. Dolson is 6 of 12 from three this season.
If that wasn't enough, she also had four assists and four rebounds in the half.
Led by Dolson, the Huskies led 52-27 at the half, shooting 19 of 33 from the field. Dolson was supported by Hartley, who added 10 points after scoring 20 during last week's rout of Marquette.
On the defensive end, UConn did what it usually does by squeezing the life out of the opponent's top scorer. This time it was guard Hrynko, who was averaging 16.2 points.
Hrynko has inherited much of the offensive responsibility since the loss of senior guard Anna Martin, who injured her left knee at Providence on Jan. 19. Martin missed her fifth straight game Sunday.
"It was a messed up situation, but you have to go out and make the best of it," Hartley said.
And the Huskies did not waste time. Dolson scored the first four points to make it 4-0. After a three by Chanise Jenkins, UConn scored the next 11 points to make it 15-3. By the time Breanna Stewart made a free throw with 10:09 to play, the score was 24-6.
UConn's lead grew to 40 (71-31) on a Mosqueda-Lewis layup just eight minutes into the second half.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun