Game Notes: UConn at DePaul [Women's]
Sixty-three and counting.
by Quinn Peterson
OK, I’ma keep it 100; this was my first time seeing the UConn Women play this year. I know about the legacy, I know about Geno, I know about the current win streak — how could you not. But this was my first time seeing them actually play this year.
The experience in one word: Wow.
Not that I expected anything less, but seeing it in person makes magnifies it tenfold. In front of an enthusiastic, near-capacity crowd at Sullivan Athletic Center, the Huskies calmly demolished another opponent, this time beating the DePaul Blue Demons, 95-62.
What’s crazy is that for a team with so many accolades, and that has smashing teams the way they have, there was nothing intimidating about them before them during warm-ups. No daunting Looney Tunes-Monstars size advantage; no overly obnoxious, I-have-no-life sea of fans that follow the team around the country; no over the top pre-game routine.
Just the team, business as usual.
Only 11 seconds in and one could see just how casual and easy the night would be for the Huskies as Tiffany Hayes scored a wide open layup. DePaul’s Keisha Hampton answered with a quick three to give the Blue Demons the lead…the last time that would be the case on this Wednesday night.
UConn set the tone early, while DePaul didn’t help themselves with unforced errors, a pattern that persisted for the entire evening. Poor transition D from the Demons left Caroline Doty and Maya Moore each with wide open three’s. Even worse for the Demons was their turnovers. At the same time, much of that credit should go to the Huskies.
It was ridiculous how many looks UConn gave the Demons on defense. They started in full court man, then went to a 2-3 for a play, then really started laying it on when they started trapping — half and full court.
Here, the greatness of Maya Moore was on full display.
“You can’t control Maya Moore’s gifts from God,” said Blue Demons Head Coach Doug Bruno.
On the point of the press, jamming outlets, she was everywhere. Long arms and active hands, she had a countless number of deflections, and steered the UConn defense. Lorin Dixon would come in off the bench to make DePaul guards’ lives miserable, too. UConn’s D forced the Demons into 14 first half turnovers.
The Huskies crashed the O-boards hard every rep, and got every loose ball, propelling themselves to an early 31-17 lead. In fact, many of their buckets were east, uncontested layups.
Still, DePaul fan support remained sold, and the Demons showed some signs of life coming out of the eight minute media timeout. With some hot shooting, the Demons cut the lead down to nine. But that was the last time they would be within single digits and the Huskies quickly pushed their lead back up.
The Demons hung around for the next few minutes until UConn used a media timeout to cut their switch on, and shut DePaul’s off, ending the half on a 14-4 run, including a Hayes’ three from 35 feet at the buzzer.
“I actually wasn’t prepared for it,” said Hayes. “I looked at the clock and I saw it was running out, so I just set my feet and shot a ball and it went in.”
“Before practice sometimes I shoot those shots a lot….I guess that helped.”
Hayes led the Huskies with 16 at halftime, while Moore had 14 and 7 rebounds. Hampton had nine for the Blue Demons, while Felicia Chester added 8 and 8.
UConn 52, DePaul 32. Halftime.
The second literally began the exact same way the first half ended. DePaul turnover; Hayes three. The Blue Demons wouldn’t score their first field goal until the 16:01 mark, and the Huskies started the half on an 11-1 run; end of story, game over.
“We kept them ‘UConn-run’ free in the first half,” said Bruno. “I didn’t think we competed the first three minutes of the second half.”
“I thought there was a pity party going on there.”
The onslaught continued for the rest of the night, and the Huskie starters were done around the nine minute mark.
Hayes and Tina Charles led UConn with 19 apiece, while Moore added 14 and 7. Sam Quigley led DePaul with 15, while Chester had 14 and 10 rebounds. Keisha Hampton and Jennifer Juergens each had 12, as well.
By the end of the night, the Huskies outscored the Demons 50-18 in the paint, 22-4 in second chance points and scored 37 points off 25 DePaul turnovers. To the Demons credit, they did shoot fairly well — 46 percent — leaving Auriemma displeased with his team’s defense despite the large margin of victory.
“I don’t know that I wanna talk about it [the defense],” he said. “They either scored or they turned it over. They didn’t miss many shots….we’ve been holding teams 27, 28 percent shooting from the floor and these guys shot 46. Last time team that shot something like that against us was Stanford.”
“They’re hard to guard.”
UConn 95, DePaul 62. Final Score.
Again, this was business as usual for UConn, seemingly with no care about the streak.
“We came out to play DePaul, we didn’t come out to play the streak,” said Auriemma. “My kids they’re lose, having fun, enjoying themselves. I don’t think they concern themselves with the streak.”
“I’m actually waiting for the loss…Just get it out of the way, stop all the nonsense, and let’s get on with trying to win a national championship.”
“I don’t care if we have one loss or 10 losses as long as it not the last game of the year.”
“It’s never talked about,” he said about the streak.
For those who are keeping tabs, it’s now 63.