By JOHN ALTAVILLA, email@example.com
The Hartford Courant
5:40 PM EST, December 31, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. —
When you consider that UConn held Stanford to 11 field goals and 35 points just two days earlier, what happened Monday at the Matthew Knight Arena made perfect sense.
Oregon, in yellow shoes bright enough to light the northern sky, was simply no match for the nation's newly anointed No. 1 team, in any sense but the fashion sense.
UConn celebrated it first day on top of the women's world since March 7, 2011, by blasting its way to a convincing 95-51 win over the Ducks before 4,052.
Once again, the Huskies (12-0) shared the offensive wealth, with six players in double-figures, led by sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who scored 19, including five three-pointers.
But no one had a better day than Caroline Doty, the senior guard.
"I'm taking the challenge to be a consistent player to heart," Doty said. "And it's not based on stats. It's about coming out and playing hard. And for some reason, it all clicked for me [Monday]."
Doty scored 14 points, added a career-high 12 rebounds and had four steals. She fell just three assists short of a triple-double in a season-high 26 minutes.
"I've never seen Caroline pick it up like that," coach Geno Aureimma said. "She's overcome so much and it means so much to her. I feel great for her after that performance. I have never seen her play better."
Stefanie Dolson (8 of 14) scored 16 points with six rebounds and five assists. Kelly Faris (5 of 6) had 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Huskies attempted 31 three-pointers (15 of 31); 19 in the first half when nine players scored. Only Heather Buck (four minutes) did not score on Monday.
In many ways, it was also a day of replenishment for freshmen Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson to work their way back into the flow.
Tuck, who had played just three minutes since the Penn State game on Dec. 6 because of a bruised knee, returned with 10 points and five steals in 27 minutes.
With the exception of her torn ACL after her freshman season in high school, Tuck had never missed significant time with an injury. This time, a bruised right knee limited to her to just 17 minutes in UConn's past five games.
"It was somewhat frustrating," Tuck said. "You always want to be out there on the court. But you also have to think about what is best for the team and if I can't go out there at 100 percent, I am hurting the team."
And Jefferson, limited to seven minutes in the past two games with a stomach ailment, scored 10 points with four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 23 minutes.
To make way for their minutes, Auriemma gave junior Bria Hartley just seven and freshman Breanna Stewart (four points, four fouls) only 12.
"It's only been recently that I've begun to think that we need to get these guys [Tuck and Jefferson] on the floor so we can find out what they are made of," Auriemma said.
"The Stanford game probably wasn't the best place to use guys who hadn't played a lot of minutes, but going into [Monday] there was no doubt that the plan was to get those guys a lot of minutes."
Oregon had 27 turnovers and shot 32.7 percent. But it was led by freshman center Jillian Alleyne, who came into the game tied for the nation's rebounding lead (14.5). She led the Ducks (2-10) with 18 points and six rebounds in 28 minutes. Devyn Galland added 13 points.
Alleyne showed athleticism and offensive skill. And that was even after she knocked heads with Mosqueda-Lewis in the second half and had to leave the game temporarily.
After nearly a week on the West Coast, the Huskies immediately headed home Monday night. They will open the Big East season in the most appropriate way on Saturday — against Notre Dame at a sold-out Gampel Pavilion.
The Huskies put this one away in stages during the first half. They scored the first 12 points and 20 of the next 27 after the Ducks had closed to 19-13.
"The pace in the first 10 minutes was not the pace I wanted to see," Auriemma said. "We're at our best when we're moving up the floor quickly. But we picked up the pace after that."
UConn then buried the nail by scoring the last 15 points of the half to open a 54-24 lead.
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