UConn returns to No. 1 then rolls past Oregon
Eugene, Ore. - First came the No. 1 ranking, then came the rout. All told, it was a pretty good day for the UConn women's basketball team.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 19 points and the Huskies celebrated their return to the top of the poll with a 95-51 victory against Oregon on Monday.
UConn took over the No. 1 spot in the Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2010-11 season on Monday afternoon, and then followed with their 12th victory of the season to remain undefeated.
"It's nice to be No. 1 but we're just trying to play basketball," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "Day in day out we're practicing really hard and trying get better."
Five other players reached double figures scoring for the Huskies, including Stefanie Dolson with 16 and senior guard Caroline Doty had her best game of the season with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
Doty had been averaging 3.9 points and 1.7 rebounds. UConn coach Geno Auriemma called Doty's performance Monday "doubly rewarding."
"I don't know what makes me happier, the fact that Caroline is playing great and contributing a lot, or that it shuts up all the idiots that wonder why she's starting, why's she's playing so many minutes and how much someone else would be better than her," Auriemma said.
Kelly Faris also had 13 points and seven assists, while Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson scored 10 each for UConn, which made 15 3-pointers.
Jillian Alleyne had 18 points to lead the Ducks (2-10), who have lost three players to season-ending injuries and had two players make their season debut on Monday.
Still, Oregon did itself no favors by going scoreless in the first five minutes and last five minutes of the first half to trail 54-24 at halftime.
"If there is a better team in America, somebody is going to have to prove it," Oregon coach Paul Westhead said.
There was no let down for UConn coming off its stunning 61-35 win against then-No. 1 Stanford at Maples Pavilion on Saturday.
The Huskies got out to a 12-0 lead in a game-opening run that included 3-pointers by Doty and Mosqueda-Lewis, while Oregon missed its first nine shots with five turnovers during that stretch.
Oregon heated up midway through the half, scoring 13 points on seven straight possessions - including its first field goal of the game on a banked 3-pointer by Amanda Delgado at the 14:09 mark - to cut its deficit to 19-13 with 11:45 to play.
That run by the Ducks ignited the season-high crowd of 4,052 at Matthew Knight Arena, but it also seemed to have a similar effect on the Huskies.
UConn quickly shutdown Oregon's momentum with 17-4 run over the next five minutes, starting with seven straight points off three forced turnovers, to go up 36-17.
"I didn't think the pace that the game was going was the pace that I wanted to play at," Auriemma said. "We're at our best when we're moving up the floor quickly, the ball's moving quickly and we're putting the other team on the defensive. After the 10-minute mark I felt we did that."
Leading by 15 with just under 5 minutes to play before halftime, the Huskies ended the first half on a 15-0 run to extend its advantage to 54-24 at the break.
Mosqueda-Lewis and Faris finished off the half with back-to-back 3-pointers in the final minute.
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