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women’s basketball UConn races past DePaul

November 29, 2018

HARTFORD — There were no surprises, as far as the UConn women were concerned. Their opponent brought a style of play that was every bit as unconventional as they had come to expect.

DePaul wanted to turn Wednesday’s Top-25 showdown into a track meet, even though it meant sacrificing defense. The Blue Demons had a reputation for chucking up 3-pointers with little restraint. And they did just that, attempting 44 and hitting only 12.

The breakneck pace certainly didn’t seem to faze the Huskies, who had no problem playing fast. The Huskies ran No. 16 DePaul out of the XL Center, parlaying a dominant opening 20 minutes into a 99-63 rout.

UConn (6-0) didn’t take long to heat up. The Huskies used a 24-0 run that extended from late in the first quarter to early in the second to open a whopping 40-15 lead.

It was 53-25 at halftime, and, given how little regard the Blue Demons had for defense, the margin on the scoreboard was bound to grow. The Huskies led by as many as 30, en route to their 16th straight win over DePaul.

Napheesa Collier nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to lead UConn. Katie Lou Samuelson added 23 points and eight rebounds. DePaul got 15 points from Ashton Millender.

There were no secrets about how DePaul wanted to attack the second-ranked team in the country. The Blue Demons (4-3) wanted to run and run some more. Doug Bruno’s team came into the game averaging 38.1 3-point attempts and 86 points per game. They were fresh off a 124-61 dismantling of Savannah State, in which they made a program-record 22 treys on 41 attempts.

The Huskies were capable of matching that run-and-gun style with their plethora of scorers. All five starters scored in double-figures, as the Huskies shot 60 percent from the floor and hit 10 3s.

DePaul made a mini run in the third quarter, trimming UConn’s lead to 17. It was during that spurt that UConn coach Geno Auriemma picked up his first technical foul of the season after a non-call on Samuelson. The Huskies, though, extended their lead to 78-52 after three quarters.

The victory served as the final tune-up for the Huskies before Sunday’s trip to No. 1 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish, who knocked off the Huskies in overtime in last year’s Final Four, are off to a 6-0 start.

dbonjour@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

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