UConn women top West Virginia

Bria Hartley of UConn (14) knocks the ball away from Christal Caldwell, left, and Ayana Dunning of West Virginia during Wednesday night's Big East Conference game at the XL Center in Hartford. UConn won 79-60.
Bria Hartley of UConn (14) knocks the ball away from Christal Caldwell, left, and Ayana Dunning of West Virginia during Wednesday night's Big East Conference game at the XL Center in Hartford. UConn won 79-60.

Hartford - If you ever wonder how two women's basketball coaches react to a game that features a combined 44 turnovers, 63 missed shots and 36 fouls, here's a sampling from Wednesday night's tractor pull at the XL Center:

West Virginia coach Mike Carey greeted his players coming off the floor for a timeout with a rousing, "scared!"

UConn coach Geno Auriemma turned to no one in particular and hollered, "We've got to be the dumbest (gosh darn) team in America."

It turned out that Auriemma's team smartened in enough time to post a 79-60 victory before a sleepy gathering of 10,130.

The No. 2 Huskies (12-1, 2-0) forced 29 turnovers, much to Carey's chagrin.

"I'll take questions," he told the assembled media after the game, "but I sure don't have no answers."

The Mountaineers (10-4, 1-1) are known for defense and held UConn to 37 percent shooting in the first half. UConn led by seven at the half but gradually extended the lead in the second half.

"We grinded one out tonight pretty good," Auriemma said.

Bria Hartley led Connecticut with 18 points. Kelly Faris had 14 points, six steals, five assists and five rebounds. Tiffany Hayes had 13 points and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, despite 3-for-12 shooting, had 12 points.

"Going through the league there are going to be a bunch of these," Auriemma said. "Not just pass and cut and everything goes the way you want it to go."

Bussie leads West Virginia

Asya Bussie led West Virginia with 19 points. Christal Caldwell scored 17 points and Brooke Hampton had 10. West Virginia fell behind early 14-5, rallied to tie the game at 18, but wilted eventually.

"I saw some stuff against their pressure," Carey said. "I think we invented some stuff tonight."

Carey's team offered the opposite of what the Huskies will see Saturday in their showdown before what is expected to be a sellout crowd at Notre Dame.

Auriemma said it was like going from perhaps the league's best defensive team to the best offensive team.

"(Playing West Virginia) you know it's going to be difficult," he said. "You've got to be tough with the ball and be patient. … The team we're playing Saturday might get 60 in the first half. That game will be about whether we can stop them from scoring."

Auriemma said Heather Buck is likely to play in Saturday's game.

m.dimauro@theday.com

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