Powerhouse Lady Huskies crush Marist

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ST. THOMAS - The first problem with devising a game plan against the University of Connecticut women's basketball team is there is not a clear place to start.

Purdue University coach Sharon Versyp did not need to stick around for the No. 2 Huskies 81-39 win over Marist College on Friday to come to that conclusion.

"They do everything well," Versyp said.

The statement is hard to disagree with.

Marist looked as confused as Wake Forest did on Thursday when UConn won by 61 points, 95-34. That leaves Purdue with the last chance to actually give the Huskies a challenge in St. Thomas. The teams close the tournament with a 9:15 p.m. tip-off tonight.

"Obviously every year, they're a program that contends for the Big Ten Championship and that's been going on for a long, long time and their style of play has been somewhat similar for a long, long time," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said about Purdue. "They're a very physical team and they're getting great guard play right now, so I don't think tomorrow's game is gonna be an easy one by any stretch of the imagination, and we knew that going into the tournament that that was going to be our toughest game probably."

UConn spread eight first-half 3-pointers among six players and pressured Marist into 15 turnovers before the break. The Huskies lead twice swelled to 31 in the first 20 minutes, and Marist junior forward Emma O'Connor was the only Red Fox comfortable taking shots against the relentless UConn defense. The Huskies led 42-14 at the half.

O'Connor hit two 3-pointers in the first half and her first got Marist within three points at 8-5 with 16:27 remaining in the first half. That was as close as it got.

"I think we still have some kinks to work out, but I think overall we're starting to understand the concepts that coach wants us to," UConn sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis said. "The freshmen are still getting acclimated, but I think they're doing a really good job."

That may be an understatement when referring to one UConn freshman. Breanna Stewart, a consensus high school Player of the Year in 2012, scored a game-high 20 points for the second straight night. Her 10 rebounds helped her to a first career double-double. Stewart has scored 20 or more points in three of four games to start her career.

"She's a great player," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "She's a post player, that's versatile. She can shoot 3s and 2s and she's a great rebounder, so I think she better keep getting 20 points."

Mosqueda-Lewis finished with 15 points and senior forward Kelly Faris and freshman guard Moriah Jefferson added 10 apiece for UConn.

O'Connor led Marist with 18. The Red Foxes play Wake Forest at 7 p.m. tonight.

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