Tulsa met No. 2 UConn in women's basketball on Wednesday night. Yes, Tulsa gets to say their in the same conference as UConn.
The Golden Hurricane (6-8 overall, 1-2 AAC) was excited to play against the two-time defending national champion. To them, they are playing in a much more competitive American Athletic Conference compared to Conference USA.
On the plane ride to Connecticut, the flight crew wished Tulsa the best of luck over the PA system but added that they were going to need it if they were going to beat the Huskies.
Of course, UConn (13-1, 3-0) had complete control in this game from start to finish. They defeated the Golden Hurricane 98-60 in front of 8,103 at the XL Center.
Tulsa's first trip to Hartford may be remembered more for the near-record cold rather than the 38-point thrashing they suffered. For Husky fans, this was the game where Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis tied Diana Taurasi's school record of 318 career three-pointers made. Mosqueda-Lewis (11 points) hit 3 three-pointers, with the third early in the second half to tie Taurasi's mark.
UConn had five scorers in double figures.
Moriah Jefferson continued her hot shooting, scoring 22 points while going 8-9 from the field and connecting on all four of her three-point attempts. Morgan Tuck scored 21 points on 10-for-12 shooting.
Freshmen Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams each had 15 points. Williams came off the bench and added a team-high nine rebounds.
Breanna Stewart had a quiet night shooting the ball. Although she was only 3-for-3 from the floor for six points, she had a career-high eight assists.
As in most games, the game was decided early. UConn took control with a decisive 35-12 run during the first 12 minutes of the half. Tulsa must have been feeling the effects of the frigid New England winter. The Huskies shot a season-high 68% during the first half and 65% for the game.
Tulsa, who leads the conference in 3-point field goal defense at 28%, allowed UConn to shoot a season-high 59% from three-point range. While UConn rested their starters for half of the game, Tulsa did not give in. They were down 80-32 at the 15:42 mark in the second half before outscoring the Huskies 28-18 the rest of the way.
The game may not have been tough, but Tulsa is a tough team. Need more evidence? Look at Ashley Hughes. Hughes dove for a loose ball in front of the UConn bench in the first half.
Kia Nurse and Hughes fought for the ball. Nurse, who grew up around hockey in Canada, won that battle and left Hughes with two teeth knocked out.
After the Tulsa coaching staff collected the teeth off the court, Hughes went to the bench to get examined. The medical staff got her a mouth guard and she went back during the next possession. When she came back in, she drained her only three of the game.
The UConn bench played a significant chunk of the game, mostly in the second half. It was a good day for oft-used bench players to get live some live-game experience.
Williams answered Auriemma's call about bench production with 15 points and nine rebounds. Courtney Ekmark had six points and three assists. Soniya Chong only scored two points. Kiah Stokes did not score, but was a force on the defensive end with seven blocks and five rebounds.
UConn will face Tulsa again in late February.
The Huskies travel to Dallas on Sunday to face SMU at Moody's Coliseum for a 3pm (SNY/ESPN3) showdown with the Mustangs. UConn defeated SMU 96-45 on December 27, 2014 in Hartford.