UConn Women At Stanford

UConn's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis gets a shot off over Stanford's Bonnie Samuelson at Roscoe Maples Pavilion Saturday afternoon. Mosqueda-Lewis led UConn with 19 points. (Brad Horrigan, Hartford Courant / December 29, 2012)

Stanford was just 5 of 33 from the field in the first half and was outscored 26-8 after a Toni Kokenis foul shot tied the score 5-5.

The Cardinal offensive ineptitude was startling, and induced by UConn's tenacious, suffocating defense. Most of Stanford's baskets were follow-ups — as opposed to those created by its own initiative. UConn simply would not allow it the space to move.

The poster child of the day's frustration was Ogwumike, its preseason All-American.

"It just shows you how much more work I need to do on reading defenses," Ogwumike said.

Before the game, Auriemma suggested just sticking Kelly Faris on Ogwumike defensively seemed like a good idea, but might create problems in other areas.

As it turned out, Faris, UConn's top defender, spent very little time on Ogwumike. Instead, the job fell to an assembly line of others; Hartley, Dolson and Breanna Stewart.

The result was striking. Although she led the Cardinal with eight first-half points, including its last eight in the half over the final 16:30, she made only 3 of 13 shots. Her teammates were 2 of 20 in the half.

Meanwhile, UConn wasn't shooting great, either, making just 10 of 28 in the half. But they got points from all over the floor, including nine from Stewart that helped them slowly grow the lead to 20 with 2:53 to play in the half.

And UConn handled itself well on the boards. Dolson, whose disappointing game here two years ago was symbolic scene of that night, had 11 first-half rebounds, nine defensively, to help control second-chance shots for Stanford.

Dolson picked up her third foul with 17:42 to play in the game, but stayed in with UConn holding a 19-point lead (34-15). She would the basket that bumped the lead to 23 a few moments later.