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womens basketball Happy to be home

January 10, 2019

STORRS — Well, that was easy.

UConn’s night against another American Athletic Conference opponent was over early — really, really early. Cincinnati didn’t stand much of a chance against the Huskies Wednesday night, not with how the 11-time national champions came out shooting.

The Huskies didn’t miss early. They didn’t miss late, either. In fact. the Huskies executed their offense to close to perfection for lengthy stretches against Cincinnati. The final: UConn 82, Cincinnati 38.

Playing their first game on campus in nearly two months, the third-ranked Huskies (13-1, 2-0 AAC) put on an offensive clinic. They scored the game’s first 17 points, overwhelming the Bearcats (9-6, 1-1) with their lights-out shooting. In the first half alone, the Huskies hit eight 3-pointers and shot 54 percent from the floor. They finished shooting 47 percent.

Cincinnati missed its first seven shots and never recovered. By the time the Bearcats finally got on the board, with 3:55 left in the first quarter, the game was long over. The Huskies were well on their way to their 103rd straight win in AAC play since the start of the 2013-14 season.

Guard Katie Lou Samuelson hit five 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 23 points, along with 10 rebounds. Crystal Dangerfield finished with 11 points and 10 assists while Napheesa Collier had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

The Huskies jumped in front 30-8 after one quarter and watched their lead continue to grow. They overmatched Cincinnati in all aspects, extending their lead to 30 at halftime (49-19) and as many as 47 points in the second half.

Freshman Christyn Williams (17 points) stood out for the Huskies during that impressive opening stretch, hitting 6-of-7 shots in the first half. With 15 first-half points, Williams nearly matched the Bearcats’ output at halftime (19).

It was an emphatic return home for the Huskies, who looked refreshed and re-energized following a pair of road trips. The Huskies recently wrapped up a two-game swing through Texas, during which they suffered their first regular-season loss since 2014 — 68-57 to Baylor.

Antoinette Miller scored 16 points for the Bearcats, who dropped to 0-20 all-time against UConn. The Bearcats committed a whopping 20 turnovers.

The Huskies will next be in action Sunday when they host USF in Storrs at 1 p.m.

Welcome back: UConn legend Sue Bird was on hand for a halftime presentation honoring military veterans.

Midseason accolades: Napheesa Collier, Crystal Dangerfield and Katie Lou Samuelson were named to Midseason Top 25 for the John Wooden Award Wednesday. The only other school with three representatives was Notre Dame, which placed Arike Ogunbowale, Jessica Shepard and Jackie Young on the list.

The list will be trimmed to 15 before the NCAA tournament, with the winner being announced April 12.

dbonjour@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

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