After the loss at Stanford, the Huskies took a few days to recover and then refocused on beginning a new winning streak, one that might carrry them to a third straight national championship.
The first opponenent in their path was Villanova, the program which had ended UConn's last long winning streak many years ago during the Big East Tournament.
STORRS - Poor Villanova. More to the point Wednesday night, poorly positioned Villanova.
"We had this attitude coming into the game that 'whoever is next is going to get it,' " UConn's Tiffany Hayes said.
The greatest misfortune for the Wildcats was not to have to play the UConn women. That's a seasonal occurrence in the Big East, like dealing with the snow in Morgantown, W.Va.
The problem was the timing of the game. Second-ranked UConn was coming off the loss last Thursday at Stanford that ended a 90-game winning streak, the longest in NCAA Division I basketball history.
"I was joking with my kids before the game that there was a 30 percent chance we'd get shut out," Villanova coach Harry Perretta said.
Perretta was wrong. UConn's shutout lasted for only 7 minutes, 44 seconds. That's when senior guard Amanda Swiezynski scored Villanova's first basket after 12 misses.
"My athletic director told me if we scored 30, I'd get a $1,000 bonus," Perretta said. "If we score 50, I'd probably be able to retire."
Well then, the hamburgers are on Harry. At least the first bonus clause kicked in during a hard-to-watch 81-35 UConn victory before 7,168 at Gampel Pavilion.
"I thought we did a lot of good things," said coach Geno Auriemma.
The Huskies were led by Hayes, who scored a game-high 22 points - after a 1-for-9 performance at Stanford.
The victory was the 70th in a row at home for the Huskies (13-1, 3-0), yet another NCAA Division I basketball record.
"We definitely love playing at home," said Maya Moore, who has participated in 68 of those 70 games. "But I don't think any of us was really aware of that streak. But we are absolutely focused on getting better and recommitting ourselves to improving and becoming overly satisfied."
Moore had 16 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes. Bria Hartley added 13 points and six rebounds and Kelly Faris led all rebounders with 12 in 36 minutes.
Now the Huskies head to Notre Dame for Saturday's meeting with the Fighting Irish.
Perretta's gallows humor seemed to reflect the reality of his team's situation. Villanova came in averaging 52.2 points and had already been through four games in which it scored fewer than 20 in the first half. The Wildcats' shooting percentage was 35.7 - and just 30 percent from beyond the three-point line, from where more than half of their shots had come.
In other words, there was no chance that UConn would lose two in a row. The Huskies took a 14-0 lead and extended it to 30-6 with 7:50 to play in the first half.
It was clinical dissection, something Villanova has become quite accustomed to against UConn in the past 10 years. The Wildcats (7-7, 0-2) struggled just to shoot and rarely tried to penetrate the lane. The starters were scoreless in the first half, going 0-for-16 from the field.
"When we start missing shots we just collapse," Perretta said. "We fall apart."
For the game, Villanova shot 22 percent (11 of 50) and was 9-for-38 on threes.
UConn pressed in the backcourt when it felt like it, giving the Wildcats as little time as possible to find an open shot. They missed their first 10 three-point attempts before Megan Pearson's basket with just over seven minutes to play in the half made it 30-9. Those were her only points.
In the second half, the Wildcats' 23 points came on seven three-pointers and two free throws - and that was because the Huskies sat back in a zone and basically let them shoot.
UConn built a 44-12 lead in the first half while Villanova made only 4 of 25 shots and 2 of 17 threes. The Wildcats had only nine rebounds in the half, three on the offensive end. And they had no second-chance points and no points off the fastbreak.
UConn Women Game 14: Time To Start Another Streak
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