Buffalo no match for No. 2 UConn in 90-34 loss
STORRS, Conn. (AP) — With its best player scoring six of the game’s first 13 points, Buffalo trailed the nation’s second-ranked women’s basketball team by only a single point.
Buffalo was perhaps feeling good about its chances of staying close in a tough environment.
“I thought we started the game very well. The first 10 minutes we were executing offense, we were handling their pressure, we were taking care of the basketball.for the first 10 minutes,” Buffalo coach Linda Hill-MacDonald said. “Unfortunately it is a 40-minute game.”
The rest of the game didn’t go nearly as well as Hill-MacDonald had hoped.
Tiffany Hayes had 30 points and 11 rebounds and No. 2 Connecticut beat Buffalo 90-34 Saturday night in the World Vision Classic.
“We have a lot of different options as far as scoring,” Hayes said. “When it’s your night, it’s your night. It just happened to be my night. And a lot of it came from something that I’ve been working on lately, that was rebounding.”
Buffalo (2-4), which was eventually undone by 32 turnovers, was led by Brittany Hedderson’s 12 points.
Stefanie Dolson added 17 points and six rebounds for UConn (5-0), which held a 49-22 advantage on the boards.
Hayes, a senior guard from Lakeland, Fla., was 10 of 15 from the floor and 9 of 9 from the free-throw line. She just missed her career high of 32 points, but added a career-high five steals.
“She did a little bit of everything today,” Dolson said of Hayes said. “She rebounded great, she made open shots, she attacked the basket. I think we definitely need this from her every night.”
The win was UConn’s 88th consecutive at home, extending its Division I record and tying the all time NCAA record set by Division III Rust (Miss.) College from 1982-89.
The Huskies actually had some trouble with turnovers (10) in the first half, but still led 44-14. That’s because Buffalo committed 20 turnovers in the same span and UConn ended the first half on a 19-0 run.
“They’re everywhere. They’re so long and athletic and quick,” Hill-MacDonald said of the Huskies’ pressure defense.
“If your spacing is bad, if your passes get too high or too slow or too low, then they’re going to take the ball from you. I thought we, many times, were passing the ball too long.”
Hayes had 24 points, five rebounds and four steals by halftime.
“When Tiffany plays like she’s playing that whole first half, with the kind of aggressiveness that she had, it’s awfully comforting to the rest of the team,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “Tonight it wasn’t just staying out there and shooting 3s, being one-dimensional. She did a lot of things that we’ve seen her do in the past.”
Dayton beat Fairleigh Dickinson 84-48 earlier Saturday in the round-robin event. The Flyers and Huskies will play Sunday for the tournament’s title.
Auriemma was actually a bit disappointed in his team’s execution during Friday’s 74-28 win over Fairleigh Dickinson, but saw plenty more he liked against Buffalo some 24 hours later.
“I thought it was a lot better,” Auriemma said.
Already ahead 59-26 midway through the second half, the Huskies scored 17 straight points to turn the game into a rout. Heather Buck capped the spurt with a steal and breakaway layup that put the Huskies up 76-26.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, the freshman forward who entered the game as UConn’s leading scorer, had just two points and missed all eight of her shots from the floor. Still, Mosqueda-Lewis helped the Huskies with seven assists, three steals and two blocks.
Auriemma jokingly referred to Mosqueda-Lewis as “Baby Jesus” because of her potential and some of the outlandish predictions about her career, but also praised her for playing rather well when her jump shot was off its mark.
“She might be the best passer that we have into the post,” Auriemma said. “She finds Stefanie a lot.”