Brianna Banks, Elena Popkey, Shelby Herrington

Connecticut Huskies guard Brianna Banks (13) drives the ball past Oakland Golden Grizzlies guard Elena Popkey (3) and forward Shelby Herrington (42) during the first half at the XL Center. (David Butler II-Hartford Courant, Hartford Courant / December 19, 2012)

The UConn women understand there's just one thing they can control, no matter how famous the program is or how willing their coach is to speak his mind about the state of the Big East.

And that is how they play, and how that performance may help enhance the university profile within the reconfigured conference or not.

Geno Auriemma said as much before the No. 2 Huskies resumed the season by dismantling Oakland (Mich.), 97-25, at the XL Center on Wednesday.

"We will create the best women's basketball program and conference we can," Auriemma said. "That's my goal right now."

A large part of that will depend on how much of an impact Bria Hartley, its lone All-American, has for the next two seasons.

Hartley's lagging offense had been the lingering byproduct of the ankle she sprained this summer playing for USA Basketball's 3 x 3 team.

That may be in the past. Hartley scored a season-high 21 points, 19 in the first half when the Huskies opened a 61-12 lead by shooting 25 of 38 from the field, including 9 of 18 from three.

"It comes back, eventually," Hartley said. "You may struggle at times, but it does come back. [Scoring is] what I am used to doing."

Breanna Stewart, held to seven points against Penn State, scored 21 points and had 13 rebounds.

"I know I could have played much better against both Penn State and Maryland," said Stewart, who was 10 of 17 in 29 minutes. "I just decided to play things more aggressively [Wednesday].

Brianna Banks scored 18 with six rebounds. Kalenna Mosqueda-Lewis added 14 points and nine rebounds. All nine players available for the game scored.

And UConn hoisted a season-high 40 three-pointers. They made 12. Oakland was just 7 of 47 (14.9 percent) from the field

The only downside was that center Stefanie Dolson's night ended with 14 minutes to play after she slightly turned her left ankle on the defensive end. But within moments, she was smiling. Crisis averted.

"I'm good," said Dolson. "It was just a little tweak."

Hartley was averaging only 7.5 points in her first six games since returning from the injury on Nov. 22 at Paradise Jam in St. Thomas. More to the point, she was shooting just 40.5 percent from the floor, 29.4 from three and hadn't scored more than 12 in any game.

But she was on point against Oakland, scoring 12 of UConn's first 17. In the first half, Hartley was 7 of 9 from the field and 3 of 5 from three in 17 minutes.

"She looked like her old self out there," Auriemma said. "We knew that little by little she would get back to it."

Mosqueda-Lewis and Stewart also reached double-figures in the first half with 10 points each.

Next for No. 2 UConn (9-0) is Saturday's game at Hartford. Then after Christmas, the Huskies travel to Palo Alto, Calif., for their Dec. 29 meeting with No. 1 Stanford.

Oakland lost its fourth straight game. And that was never in doubt. They were missing both Bethany Watterworth, the Summit's preseason player of the year, and freshman Olivia Nash, their leading scorer and rebounder. Both were out with undisclosed leg injuries.