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Top Ranked UCONN Tops Saint Joseph's in Second Round of NCAA Tournament

Release: 03/26/2014
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Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

STORRS, Conn. (AP) - Saint Joseph's coach Cindy Griffin believes her Hawks went as far as they could go this season, and that was farther than the program has been in 14 years.

Top-ranked UConn topped Saint Joe's 91-52 on Tuesday  in the second round of the NCAA tournament, behind a triple-double from Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. Four other Huskies also scored in double figures.

Erin Shields and Sarah Fairbanks each had 12 points to lead Saint Joseph's which finished the year at 23-10, after beating Georgia in the first round on Sunday. Natasha Cloud had 10 points and six assists for the Hawks, who were the last Atlantic-10 team standing in the tournament.

''We're very proud of our kids,'' Griffin said. ''They did a wonderful job and I think they can leave this year knowing we accomplished and maximized what this team could maximize.''

They didn't have nearly enough to stop the Huskies.

Mosqueda-Lewis scored 20 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and had 10 assists to post the second triple double for UConn this year, the third in program history, and just the 14th in the history of the women's NCAA tournament.

Breanna Stewart added 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Bria Hartley also chipped in 20 points for the defending national champions (36-0), who are trying to win a record ninth NCAA tournament.

Mosqueda-Lewis connected on eight of her 14 shots, and was 3 of 5 from 3-point range.

Stefanie Dolson added 17 points and six rebounds. She had UConn's other triple-double this season, scoring 26 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists in a win over Oregon in November.

Dolson scored off the opening tip and UConn never trailed. A pair of 3-pointers from Jefferson and Mosqueda-Lewis made it 8-0 and forced Griffin to use her first timeout less than two minutes into the game.

Fairbanks ended the opening 10-0 UConn run with a layup to get the Hawks on the board.

''When they come off making four 3s to start the game, we're going to have our hands full,'' Griffin said. ''We were always playing catch up.''

The Huskies hit five of their first six shots from behind the arc. Moriah Jefferson gave the Huskies their first 20-point lead at 36-16 with an old-fashioned 3-point play on a drive to the basket.

The Huskies led 50-26 at halftime, and Mosqueda-Lewis (13), Dolson (11) and Stewart (11) were already in double figures.

Hartley jointed them less than two minutes into the second half, hitting a 3-pointer that was part of a 10-0 UConn run. Jefferson finished with 11.

The Huskies shot 56 percent from the floor, and held Saint Joe's to 35 percent. They outrebounded the Hawks 46-23.

It was the ninth time this season that UConn has put five players into double figures.

''If someone's open, we're going to get them the ball,'' Hartley said. ''We're just trying to do whatever it takes to win and whatever it takes to play our best basketball. The way we share the ball and the way we move the ball, it's really hard for teams to defend that.''

Saint Joseph's, which beat Georgia on Sunday, had not won a tournament game since 2000. They have never advanced past the second round of the tournament.

''I was wondering after the game, why am I not crying,'' said Shields. ''And I looked back and I was like, `We gave it our best shot. And that's what I was most proud of.''

Shields' four 3-pointers give her 96 for the season, a new single-season record for the school. She passed the old mark of 91, set by Kristen Sullivan in 1996, on Sunday. Cloud's assists also set a single-season mark, giving her 243.

Saint Joseph's falls to 0-8 in games against teams ranked at the top of the AP poll, and 33-118 against any nationally ranked opponent.

Connecticut has not been kind to the Hawks this postseason. The UConn men also ousted Saint Joe's, 89-81 in overtime, in a second-round game last week in Buffalo.

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