– Since the freshmen are relatively new to the neighborhood, UConn's veterans took time this week to explain what it's like hanging out with Villanova.
To paraphrase: You can knock on its door, but you can't make them come out to play. You can ring its bell, but you won't make them run. You can honk your horn, but don't expect them to drive.
Yes, Villanova does what Villanova wants to do; a tortoise without a care about setting a quick pace.
It's been that way for just about every game in Harry Perretta's 35 seasons. And it will be that way until he calls it quits.
"It played out the way we expected," freshman Breanna Stewart said.
Until evidence contrary is presented, UConn will always know the deal. It stayed cool Tuesday, let Wildcats do their dribble, dribble best before firing them up. And they crushed them 76-43 at the XL Center.
"It's the same formula all of the time," Geno Auriemma said. "You need to maximize your offensive possessions because if you do, if you put points on the board and pressure on their guys to make shots, that's your best chance of beating them."
Stefanie Dolson led UConn (19-1, 6-1) with 20 points, shooting 8 of 11 with eight rebounds. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 19 points, shooting 6 of 11 (5 of 6 from three).
"They are in a good place right now," Auriemma said. "They are very confident."
Stewart added 14 points and six rebounds.
"We all kind of take turns depending on what needs to be done during the game," Dolson said. "I am definitely at a good point now with my game."
Jesse Carey, a high school teammate of UConn's Caroline Doty at Germantown Academy in Pennsylvania, led Villanova (16-4, 5-2) with nine points.
The Huskies begin the commuter portion of their Big East road schedule with Saturday's game at St. John's at 2 p.m. They return home Tuesday to play Marquette at Gampel Pavilion.
"We're playing great," said Mosqueda-Lewis. "We are playing with great rhythm and with a sense of what we are trying to accomplish on defense. We are being aggressive and doing our best to understand the concepts [of defense] we are being taught and taking them into games."
Coming into Tuesday's game, the Wildcats led the Big East in three-point attempts (470). Not only did that represent 44.6 percent of all their shots, it was more than twice as many as five other teams in the conference.
They were also last in free throw attempts (207). And that was about half as many taken by Notre Dame and Georgetown.
The Huskies simply waited for Villanova to launch the three-pointers and then crashed the boards for the caroms. Villanova was 7 of 28 from three and was outrebounded 48-28.
Amazingly, Villanova defeated DePaul by 16 points on Jan. 9 despite making only 3 of 25 threes. That night, they pounded the boards for 20 offensive rebounds and scored over 40 points in the paint.
Not this time. Not even close.
Four of Villanova's first eight shots were threes. None went into the basket. Still they managed to stay close at 7-4 and later 17-10 with just over 13 minutes to play in the first half.
And then it all went into the trash bin.
Behind 15 points from Dolson and 14 from Mosqueda-Lewis, which included 4 of 4 from three, the Huskies began to pull away. The halftime score was 44-17. The statistics told the story.
The Wildcats were 8 of 27 from the field, just 1 of 10 from three. They missed their first nine until Carey's three ended their scoring. They coaxed just one free throw and missed that.
The Huskies were 16 of 31 from the field, 6 of 11 from three in the first half. They assisted on 13 of the hoops.
And when those 19 misses came off the rim, the Huskies were all over them. They outrebounded the Wildcats 25-10, limiting them to just one offensive rebound.
Keep in mind that UConn built the lead despite not making a field goal in the final 4:31 of the first half, during which it missed seven straight shots. The Huskies added to that by not getting their first second-half bucket until 16:53 was left in the game.
"But we did a good job, I thought, of not forcing things," Mosqueda-Lewis said.
So UConn went 7:38 of the game without a field goal, and missed 17 of 25 after starting the game 16 of 24, and still won by 33.
At the half, like she did during UConn's last home game against Duke on Jan. 21, Chris Dailey, UConn's associate head coach, led the crowd in another cheer to make sure the team did not let up.
After Duke it was "no more turnovers." This time is was "stay aggressive."
Like he did against Cincinnati on Saturday night, Auriemma worked in his bench in the second half after Bria Hartley (17 minutes), Kelly Faris (16), Mosqueda-Lewis (14) and Dolson (13) did most of the labor in the first.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun