UConn Women Beat Louisville to Win American Title
March 11, 2014 By: Patrick McKenna, Athletic Communications
New league, same result. It’s another championship for UConn.
Breanna Stewart ’16 (CLAS) scored 20 points, and top-ranked Connecticut beat No. 3 Louisville 72-52 on Monday night to win the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament.
“You have a goal on October 15 when you start, and the whole process is about that. New league, new coaches, new venue – that was all exciting for us,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “I don’t know how many conference championships the American is going to host in their lifetime, but we won the first one and there’s something special about that.”
It’s the 19th conference tournament championship for the Huskies, who won their first 18 in the Big East Conference.
With the victory, UConn (34-0) becomes the 14th team to enter the NCAA tournament without a loss. It’s the sixth time that the Huskies have accomplished that feat. They’ve gone on to win the national championship four of those years.
UConn got off to a quick start, scoring the first eight points of the game. Louisville trailed 28-20 with 6 minutes left in the first half before Stewart took over.
Her three-point play started a 12-2 run to close the half. Stewart, the tournament’s MVP, had seven points during the burst, as UConn led 40-22 at the break.
“We always try to go on a run,” Stewart said. “We wanted to go into halftime on a good note and stepped up our game.”
Louisville (30-4) scored the first five points in second half, but could get no closer because of Stewart and the Huskies.
“It’s going to take 40 minutes of very, very good basketball in order for anybody to beat them,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “That’s one thing I’ve been preaching to our players the entire time. You can’t play for 20, can’t play for 30, it takes 40 minutes of basketball.”
Bria Hartley ’14 (CLAS) added 16 points and Stefanie Dolson ’14 (CLAS) had 10 points and 16 rebounds for the Huskies, who have won 40 straight games – the third-longest streak in school history. It was the third straight game that UConn put a team away by the end of the first half.
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