UConn women roll to record-setting 1st-round win
STORRS, Conn. — Azura Stevens scored 26 points to lead six UConn players in double figures and the Huskies opened their NCAA Tournament with a record-setting 140-52 rout of Saint Francis (Pa.) on Saturday.
The tournament’s top seed set a record for points in a tournament game and all-time NCAA records for points in a period (55 in the first) and a half (94 in the first).
And UConn’s 88-point margin of victory was the second-biggest in tournament history. Baylor beat Texas Southern by 89 in the 2017 tournament.
The previous record for points in a tournament game was 121. The previous mark for points in a half was 80 and for a quarter was 45.
Stevens also had 10 rebounds. Katie Lou Samuelson had 18 points and 10 assists and Kia Nurse finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Napheesa Collier had 25 points and nine assists.
UConn (33-0) shot 65 percent from the floor, 73.6 percent in the first half, and outscored the No. 16 seed 96-10 in the paint.
Samuelson opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, the Huskies made their first nine shots. They took their first 30-point lead in the first quarter on Samuelson’s reverse layup that made it 41-10 and ended the quarter with a 55-19 lead.
Collier’s basket with more than six minutes left in the second quarter gave UConn a 68-26 lead. Nurse’s layup with more than three minutes remaining made it 82-28. UConn led 94-31 at the break.
Haley Thomas had 12 points and Caitlyn Kroll 11 for Saint Francis, which finishes the season 24-10. Jessica Kovatch, who came in as the nation’s second-leading scorer at just under 25 points per game, finished with nine, all in the second half.
UConn is looking for its 12th national title and fifth in six years. The Huskies haven’t lost in the opening round since 1993.
Saint Francis (Pa.): The Red Flash are 0-12 in the NCAA Tournament, with three of those losses coming to UConn. The Huskies won by 51 points in 1999 and by 49 points in 2002. Saint Francis’ 24 wins this season are the most since the program won 25 in 2003-04.
UConn: The Huskies improved to 96-10 in the NCAA Tournament as a top seed and 114-18 overall, all under Geno Auriemma, who is the winningest coach in the tournament’s history.
UConn will play either Miami or Quinnipiac on Monday night, looking to make the Sweet 16 for a 25th straight season.