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UConn Women Beat Colgate, 101-41

UConn HuskiesCollege BasketballBasketballXL CenterBig East ConferenceGeno Auriemma

— UConn fans have counted seven national championships and a dozen Final Four appearances since 1995.

Still, there have been times when coach Geno Auriemma hasn't been able to count to past seven looking for players capable of giving him what he expects.

That is the fundamental difference between this team and some of those others. If there is power in numbers, the No. 2 Huskies have super-sized strength, a roster as deep as it is wide.

"It's a part of what makes coaching so much fun," Auriemma said. "It was Red Auerbach who said if you can't win with eight [players] you can't win with 88."

Wednesday night at the XL Center, the Huskies did something you don't see often in women's basketball, in and of itself not unusual for this precedent-setting program.

That doesn't include blasting Colgate 101-41 at the XL Center.

They replaced the Big East's reigning Freshman of the Year, sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, with a reigning WBCA All-American, junior Bria Hartley, in the starting lineup.

This created a new and interesting dynamic for a team that had won its first five games by 46.4 points. But it wasn't as important against Colgate as some powerful individual performances.

Sophomore guard Brianna Banks scored a career-high 20 points, one of four players in double-figures.

"All I've been trying to do is take what coach has been telling me and trying to process it in a positive way," Banks said.

Junior center Stefanie Dolson scored 18 points, junior guard Kelly Faris added 17 points and Breanna Stewart had 12.

But what brought the biggest cheer was the basket by Heather Buck, just her second of the year, that gave the Huskies an even 100. Buck also had three blocks

The Huskies (6-0) made 13 threes, outrebounded Colgate 42-26, forced 27 turnovers and outscored the Red Raiders 50-2 in the paint.

They have a few days to prepare for Monday night's game with Maryland at the XL Center.

The Red Raiders (2-4) showed spunk, making four three-pointers in the first half. But their turnovers and size differential — only one player as tall as 6-2 — were fatal.

Mosqueda-Lewis was held out because of the concussion she sustained on Saturday when smacked in the jaw inadvertently by a Purdue player. The hope is that she'll be ready for Maryland on Monday.

That pushed Hartley up a notch in the rotation. This was her fourth game since returning from a severely sprained left ankle. She had been brought along cautiously. But Wednesday the training wheels went back into the garage. She scored eight points in 23 minutes.

No surprise that this game was over quickly and emphatically. UConn took a 12-0 lead and spent the remainder of the night polishing its swag.

But this was more about Faris. UConn led 49-22 at the half on the strength of a 19 of 37 shooting performance. By the end of the half, Faris (15), Dolson (14) and Banks (14) already had scored in double-figures.

"I'm just glad they went in today," said Faris, smiling. "And it's about time, right?"

Faris, who had made 6 of 11 threes coming into the game, and Banks, shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc, combined to make all six three-point attempts.

"I don't know anyone who works harder or deserves things more than [Faris] does," Auriemma said. "There is always going to be a place for her on any team at any level."

Dolson shot 7 of 8 in the first half, most shots from in the shadow of the rim, set up by a perfect pass. UConn had 13 first-half assists.

Sibling Rivalry

Not only was this UConn vs. Colgate, it was UConn President Susan Herbst vs. Colgate President Jeffrey Herbst.

Yes, brother and sister.

"It wasn't until after the fact [the scheduling of the game] did I realize it would be a Herbst vs. Herbst WWE Smackdown," Auriemma said.

Auriemma joked Tuesday that his boss had been in constant contact about what's at stake.

"I've already gotten more than a few memos from our fearless leader about what she wants the score to be," Auriemma said. "I'm under a little bit of pressure. It will be interesting. You never know. Susan may leave in a couple of years and he may be the next president of UConn."

The presidents exchanged team jerseys in a ceremony before the opening tip.

Hartley was awarded a ceremonial basketball for scoring her 1,000th career point, which she did in last season's Final Four. … Stanford and UConn have extended their home-and-home series through 2014-15. The teams will open next season in Connecticut on Nov. 10, 2013.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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UConn HuskiesCollege BasketballBasketballXL CenterBig East ConferenceGeno Auriemma
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