HARTFORD, Conn. – The Connecticut women’s team had six scholarship players healthy enough to play Sunday against South Florida. That was all the Huskies needed.
Breanna Stewart tied a career high with 29 points and Bria Hartley added 26 as top-ranked UConn beat South Florida 81-53.
Hartley made 6 of 7 shots from three-point range in putting up 20 or more points for the third consecutive game. Stewart made five three-pointers and the Huskies (21-0 overall, 8-0 American Athletic Conference) were 14 of 25 from behind the arc, making 10 of their first 11.
“The shots were falling and everything was good and we were like, ‘All right, we’ll just shoot threes the rest of the game,’ ” Stewart said. “Then they stopped going in for a little bit. But getting that inside-outside awareness really makes our team difficult to guard.”
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Courtney Williams had 23 points and eight rebounds to lead South Florida (10-9, 5-3), which had won five of its previous six games.
“The way (UConn) shot the ball tonight, no one in the country had a shot to beat them,” said South Florida coach Jose Fernandez. “Let me tell you right now, if Connecticut plays their best and anybody in the country plays their best, (the Huskies) are going to win.”
The victory was the 27th in a row for the Huskies, dating to last season’s NCAA tournament run to the program’s eighth national championship.
UConn will play the rest of the season without sophomore forward Morgan Tuck, who announced she will have season-ending surgery to repair a cartilage problem in her right knee. She hasn’t played since Jan. 7.
Other Top 5 women
At No. 3 Duke 111, Pittsburgh 67
Tricia Liston scored 23 points and became the all-time leader in three-point baskets when she made No. 223 for the Blue Devils (20-1, 7-0 Atlantic Coast), who beat the Panthers (9-11, 1-5).
Elizabeth Williams added 20 points for Duke, which shot a season-best 60 percent.
“There have been games when we felt not very deep,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “Today, we felt like the deepest team in America. Everybody was doing what they can do.”
At No. 5 Louisville 88, Memphis 61
Shoni Schimmel scored 29 points, making a school-record nine three-pointers, to help the Cardinals (20-1, 8-0 American Athletic) defeat the Tigers (10-10, 3-5).
Schimmel was 9 of 12 on threes and surpassed her school record of eight three-point baskets set against South Florida last season.
Louisville has won 13 in a row.