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No. 2 UConn outlasts No. 3 Stanford

Hartford — It wasn't long after Geno Auriemma had called this "a really good night and a really good win" and not long after he gushed about his team's resolve Monday night that he was reminded of the stat du jour:

It took until 14 minutes, 33 seconds remained in the game for a UConn women's player not named Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis or Bria Hartley to make a field goal.

Think about that: The program whose offense is normally smoother than good jazz treated 13,771 fans at the XL Center to a clinking, clanking collection.

"Forget everything I said," Auriemma cracked. "We suck."

But not really. The second-ranked Huskies smothered No. 3 Stanford with defense instead and beat the Cardinal 68-58.

"We're going to make those," Auriemma said, alluding to the 7-for-35 shooting from Stefanie Dolson, Kelly Faris, Tiffany Hayes and Caroline Doty. "The key is how do you beat a really good team when they don't go in? I think you feel better about yourself when you win when they don't go in."

Mosqueda-Lewis scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting, all with former program greats Maya Moore, Sue Bird and Kalana Greene watching from behind the bench. Hartley finished with 19 points on 8-for-16 shooting.

"Bria Hartley kind of took it at us," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.

But it was defense, 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals from Tiffany Hayes and nine points and nine rebounds from Dolson that helped hand Stanford (3-1) its first loss.

"(The pressure defense) caused us to take a long time to get the ball up (court)," Stanford senior Nneka Ogwumike said. "It was disruptive."

It was disruptive to game flow as well. UConn missed its first 10 shots, leaving the fans standing and clapping for the game's first basket nearly until the first media timeout.

"A November heavyweight fight," VanDerveer said. "It was extremely physical. That's usually a game you see in March. It wasn't pretty."

Except for Mosqueda-Lewis. She scored 10 of UConn's first 15 points off the bench and was treated to an ovation when she entered the game in the second half, after the Huskies went scoreless the first three minutes.

"She's their go-to player and she delivered," VanDerveer said.

Auriemma said, "She doesn't catch it and wonder 'what should I do with it?"'

The Huskies used an 11-2 run in the second half, capped by Doty's first field goal, a 3-pointer with 7:32 left, to give Connecticut a 55-44 lead. Doty hit another with 4:23 left to push UConn's lead to 60-51. Stanford never again threatened.

Ogwumike led the Cardinal with 22 points, despite foul trouble that limited her to six minutes in the first half.

"We played so hard for 40 minutes," Auriemma said. "One of the better defensive efforts I've seen us have in a long, long time. I was pleasantly surprised by that."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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