Top-ranked UConn routs Bulls, 83-37
TAMPA -- With back-to-back road games and school on winter break, Geno Auriemma decided to let his No. 1 Connecticut women's basketball team stay a few extra days in sunny Florida after Tuesday's game with South Florida rather than return home to campus.
"They get to appreciate that when you work hard, there are some rewards that come with it," said Auriemma, who took his team to Timpano Italian Chophouse on Monday night.
The vacation started a little early Tuesday, as the undefeated Huskies made easy work of the Bulls, dominating them in an 83-37 rout, USF's most lopsided defeat in six years.
The game drew a crowd of 4,290 -- most of them cheering for the Huskies -- easily the most at the Sun Dome since Connecticut last visited two years ago.
The Bulls (13-3, 0-2 in Big East) came in leading the nation in scoring at 89 points per game, one ahead of the Huskies. UConn (14-0, 1-0) played defense like a team trying to make a point, holding the Bulls to 11 points in the second half.
"We weren't satisfied with how we were playing defense, so we defintely took it as a challenge," said forward Maya Moore, who had a game-high 24 points. "There's no better team to do it against than a high-scoring South Florida team."
The Bulls' top three scorers -- guards Shantia Grace, Jazmine Sepulveda and Janae Stokes -- had gone 9-for-40 in a loss at Marquette on Saturday. On Tuesday, they were worse, held to 3-for-29 shooting as USF as a team went 2-for-21 on 3-point attempts.
"Not much to say," said USF coach Jose Fernandez, whose team scored one point more than its low in his nine seasons as coach. "You saw the No. 1 team in the country play at their best. They took us out of a lot of things, and we didn't help ourselves with a lot of things we did."
UConn's Maya Moore had 13 points in the first eight minutes and had 20 by halftime; center Tina Charles finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Forward Porche Grant led USF with 10 points off the bench; Grace had eight on 2-for-12 shooting.
The 46-point loss is the most lopsided the Bulls have taken since Georgia won 91-44 in January 2003. The 11 points in the second half is two points more than the record low for USF in any half.
After a few days in Tampa, Connecticut plays Saturday at West Virginia, while USF continues a three-game home stand Saturday against St. John's.