When the Big East selected Marquette to play UConn twice this season, Golden Eagles coach Terri Mitchell tried to pour herself a glass half full.
This was a magnanimous gesture. An ordinary person, confronted by the possibilities, would have automatically spilled something all over her office rug.
But Mitchell, a former assistant coach for USA Basketball, decided to try looking at her two games against UConn from the bright side. After all, what is college athletics if not a forum designed for personal growth?
But after Tuesday's 94-37 loss at Gampel Pavilion before a quiet 6,430, it seemed time to admit the obvious. Getting the short straw, losing two games to the Huskies this season by a combined 91 points, was a test even to her power of positive thinking.
"A charade," said about the scheduling decision.
And she said it to Danielle Donehew, the associate commissioner of women's basketball for the Big East.
"It's what the Big East decided," Mitchell said. "We knew it was going to be tough, that we'd have to find ways [to play better]. … We lost worse than we did at home. I wanted us to play better and it didn't happen."
Junior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, one of the nation's premier three-point shooters, was brilliant again, scoring 22 points in 23 minutes. She was 8 of 10 from the field, 5 of 6 from three-point range.
"I don't know how you could be any better," Geno Auriemma said. "We know that she can blow the game open in any three-minute stretch. That's how much confidence we have in her."
Bria Hartley emerged from her offensive slump with 20 points, her most since scoring a season-high 21 points against Oakland on Dec. 19.
"It was a great feeling to finally be able to do something like that," Hartley said.
It was only the sixth double-figure game for the reigning WBCA All-American since the Oakland game.
"She has been struggling and the more you struggle, the more it gets in your head," Auriemma said. "And the more it gets into your head, the more you struggle. It's a bad cycle to be in."
Hartley said Mosqueda-Lewis predicted she'd have a big night.
"She had a good practice Monday and a good shoot-around [Tuesday]," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "I said, 'Bria, it's time.'"
And that's what Hartley did. She tied a career-high with five three-pointers (5 of 7) after shooting 0 for 7 from three Saturday at St. John's.
"She [KML] predicted during the shoot-around that I would go 5 for 7 today," Hartley said. "I told her I'd be happy if I just hit one."
Caroline Doty pumped home four three-pointers, on four attempts, to score 12 points in 21 minutes.
"Momentum just takes over after awhile," Doty said.
The Huskies finished with six players in double figures and tied their season high with 15 three-pointers [23 attempts] to demolish the Golden Eagles (11-11, 3-6).
The Huskies (21-1, 8-1) have now won nine straight since their loss to Notre Dame on Jan. 5. UConn plays DePaul Sunday at Gampel Pavilion.
On Jan. 12 in Milwaukee, the Huskies won by 34 despite being outscored 32-31 in the second half. Do the math: Marquette scored just 19 in the first.
In that game, junior Katherine Plouffe, the Golden Eagles' top scorer and rebounder, was held without a point or rebound in 21 frustrating minutes.
By the time she played her first 21 minutes on Tuesday, she had two points and two rebounds. It didn't help much. The Huskies were ahead, 71-22, at the time.
Plouffe, who finished with four points and three rebounds, had those two points in the first half. Her teammates had just 17. That kept them within 45 of the Huskies, who shot the ball with remarkable skill in the first 20 minutes.
"We ran our stuff remarkably well," said Kelly Faris, who had 11 points, five steals and four assists on the night she was honored for achieving a 4.0 GPA in the 2012 spring semester.
UConn actually trailed 3-0 after Marquette freshman Brooklyn Pumroy opened the scoring with a three-pointer. Pumroy led the Golden Eagles with 11 points.
UConn scored the next 19 points.
After another three by Arlesia Morse made it 19-6, the Huskies went on a 12-0 run to make it 31-6.
The closest the Golden Eagles got to UConn from there on was 42-12 when they actually scored six straight points.
Then the Huskies dropped the hammer with a 20-0 run that made everything that followed seem like the credits after the movie.
In the first half, UConn made 22 of 35 shots (62.9 percent). They were 10 of 13 from three (76.9 percent). Mosqueda-Lewis scored 19 points in the half, shooting 7 of 7 from the field and 5 of 5 from three.
The demolition was executed primarily from the fast lane. The Huskies scored 33 of their first-half points on fast breaks, taking advantage of 13 turnovers and 18 assists. They did not have a fast break point in the second half.
And what they didn't score on the run, they finished under the rim by outscoring the Golden Eagles 20-4 in the paint.
As good as UConn played, Chris Dailey, UConn's associate coach, continued her latest tradition of asking the home crowd to join her in a miniature pep rally at the half by cheering "rebound, rebound, rebound."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun