TAMPA, Fla. – Top-ranked Connecticut was held to a season-low point total and still won easily.
Bria Hartley scored 18 points to help the Huskies remain unbeaten with a 63-38 rout of cold-shooting South Florida on Sunday.
Breanna Stewart and Stefanie Dolson each added 15 points for UConn (26-0 overall, 13-0 American Athletic Conference).
South Florida (13-11, 8-5) forced the defending NCAA champions to work hard for points, but the Huskies countered with stifling defense of their own.
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“We just go out and play defense and figure out what we’ve got to do to stop people and shut them down, and we do it,” coach Geno Auriemma said, adding people often overlook that aspect of UConn’s success because it is such a high-scoring team.
UConn entered Sunday leading the AAC and ranked sixth nationally in points scored at 85 per game. The Huskies were first in the country for fewest points allowed, at 48.1 per game.
“We’re able to do something that’s hard to do, you know: recruit high-school All-Americans that score 16 million points in high school and get them to play defense when they come to college,” Auriemma said. “It’s not easy to do, but we get them to do it.”
What is the key to getting offensive-minded players to buy into his system?
“Once it becomes part of your program, you don’t have to worry about it too much. You either play defense or you don’t play,” Auriemma said.
“If you come to Connecticut, you’re going to be playing with a lot of really, really good offensive players, and when you put 10 really good offensive players on the same team, something’s got to give. And the guys who work the hardest at the other end of the floor, they know they’re going to play more than the guys that don’t.”
Other Top 5 games
No. 4 Louisville 82, at Memphis 66
Emmonnie Henderson scored a career-best 19 points on 9-for-14 shooting, Shoni Schimmel added 18 and the Cardinals (25-2, 13-1 American Athletic) beat the Tigers (11-15, 4-10).
No. 5 S. Carolina 73, at No. 19 LSU 57
Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch each scored 19 points to help the Gamecocks (23-2, 11-1 Southeastern) defeat the Tigers (18-7, 5-5).
• Nebraska coach Connie Yori has been hospitalized after collapsing during the second half of the 21st-ranked Cornhuskers’ 76-61 victory over Indiana.
Associate athletic director Marc Boehm said Yori, 50, had been bothered by dizzy spells before she collapsed in front of the team’s bench with about 12 minutes left in the game. She later walked off the court under her own power.
Associate head coach Sunny Smallwood, a former assistant coach at Washington and Washington State, guided Nebraska for the rest of the game.