STORRS — There was a lot of emotion to process Sunday at Gampel Pavilion. Some good, some bad.
Then the current UConn team took the stage amid the excitement and things suddenly … slowed … down.
So effervescent this season, the Huskies didn't sizzle as consistently as they usually do. In fact, they looked unresponsive at times against a Cincinnati team that just would not quit, a quality that its coach, Jamelle Elliott, displayed as a UConn player.
Eventually, but not without more stress than expected, the Huskies completed their roll through 2013 by outlasting the feisty Bearcats 67-34 before 9,872, the biggest campus crowd of the year.
The Huskies were led by Breanna Stewart, who registered her fourth straight double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
"Dirk Novitzki personified," Elliott said. "Trying to defend her is like putting an ant on a horse."
But the sophomore was 4-for-15 from the floor in 28 minutes.
Bria Hartley added 12 points, but she shot 4-for-10. Moriah Jefferson also had 12 points. But everyone struggled from the floor, and UConn's points seemed more compiled than scored.
"There was no flow to the offense," said coach Geno Auriemma, who added that he might consider tightening his rotation down from nine in an effort to rekindle it.
The Huskies scored 19 points under their season average, had more turnovers (11) than assists (10) for the first time this season and shot 5-for-25 from three.
"We are a pretty good defensive team," Elliott said. "Our goals were to make it as much of a half-court game as possible, to stop transition and to force them to make at least four or five passes before each shot."
"But they still won by 30 points. They are the best team in the country."
Cincinnati was led by Jeanise Randolph's double-double. She scored a game-high 15 points with 10 rebounds.
Nope, this wasn't easy. And for the final 35 minutes, it really wasn't that much fun, especially when the shots stopped falling in the first half.
"We need to do a better job of gathering ourselves and playing the game the way we know how," Stewart said.
The Huskies took a 16-0 lead in the first 5:02, then were outscored 20-17 by the Bearcats the rest of the way, struggling through a 12-for-33 drought and fighting for a 33-20 lead.
"We got caught up going a little too fast on offense," Stefanie Dolson said. "We just need to do a better job of slowing down and running the plays that coach calls."
The Huskies had gotten right down to business against the Bearcats, who already have a milestone win over Ohio State and another over Xavier in which they held their opponent to 26 points.
But this was much different, even though Cincinnati didn't even score until a three by Kayla Cook with 13:56 to play in the first half.