A game which had a lot of hype going into it ended in a similar fashion to UConn's other games against highly-ranked opponents as the Huskies took care of business fairly comfortably on the road against the No. 2 South Carolina Gamecocks, 66-54. The win extends the Huskies' winning streak to 60 games and hands South Carolina its first loss of the season.
From the start, it was clear Breanna Stewart was going to do whatever it takes to win. She was aggressive and assertive on both ends of the court, scoring six points in the first quarter on her way to a 25 point, 10 rebound, five block performance. South Carolina fought admirably, making some runs to chip away at the lead, but Stewie was always there to hit a key shot and quiet the sellout crowd at Colonial Life Arena.
Stewart combined with UConn's other two superstars, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, to score 80% of UConn's points. Jefferson played her usual relentless defense and moved the Husky offense with pace as she scored 12 points while dishing out six assists and nabbing two steals.
In a game where the Huskies needed the best out of Morgan Tuck, given South Carolina's prowess in the low post, Tuck delivered. She scored 16 points and grabbed 5 rebounds, but her greatest contribution was being the anchor defensively down low against Gamecock center Alaina Coates, who was held to two points and nine rebounds even though she had been averaging a double-double against ranked teams.
The UConn defensive performance really made the difference tonight. South Carolina committed a lot of turnovers early, including three shot-clock violations in the first quarter, and was held to just 37% shooting from the field in the game, only making one out of its first eight three-point attempts until hitting two late in the fourth quarter.
South Carolina's star guard A'ja Wilson left the game in the second quarter with a leg injury and headed to the locker room. She re-entered the game at the end of the third quarter and the game got a bit closer, but it was too little, too late. The Huskies were already ahead by quite a bit when Wilson went down with her injury so it isn't likely that her presence would have changed very much with regards to the outcome of the game.
The Huskies will be in action again on Sunday against Temple in Philadelphia. UConn is unlikely to be tested again until the season finalé against South Florida at Gampel on February 29.
Here's what @UConnWBB coach Geno Auriemma had to say about Monday's win over @GamecockWBB: https://t.co/lMm1w6CNnL— ESPN Women's Hoops (@ESPN_WomenHoop) February 9, 2016