No. 2 Connecticut women beat East Carolina 89-38
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) Here is how high the standards are at No. 2 Connecticut: After what coach Geno Auriemma called the worst half in his 30 years with the Huskies, they still led East Carolina by 23 points.
UConn went on to rout the Pirates 89-38 on Wednesday, claiming its 10th straight win behind 26 points from Breanna Stewart.
Moriah Jefferson scored 16 points and Morgan Tuck had 14 for the Huskies (11-1, 2-0 American Athletic Conference).
The reigning national champions never trailed, shot nearly 55 percent and - after turning it over 15 times in the first half - put this one well out of reach by scoring the first 21 points after the break.
''They promised me that they would pass the ball to our guys in the second half,'' Auriemma said. ''I thought the first 10 minutes of the second half, we played really, really well. It was completely different than the way the game went the first 20 minutes.''
UConn converted 29 turnovers by East Carolina into 36 points and gave the Pirates a blowout loss in their first home game in their new conference.
''This was our first time being tested like that, and so with our players I think there's an adjustment period for sure,'' East Carolina coach Heather Macy said.
Stewart went 8 for 15 from the field and had six rebounds. Freshman Kia Nurse added 13 points for the Huskies.
Jada Payne had seven points for East Carolina (9-4, 0-2), which forced 20 turnovers but shot just 24 percent.
The Huskies faced a quick turnaround after routing No. 10 Duke 83-52 on Monday night in Hartford.
They had no trouble making it 2-for-2 this week against North Carolina-based schools - even while playing what Auriemma described during a television halftime interview as his team's worst half in his 30 years, in large part due to all those turnovers.
Stewart had 18 points in the first 16 minutes. The Huskies went up by double figures before the first media timeout and needed only 12 minutes to take a 20-point lead.
Tuck's jumper at the 8-minute mark made it 31-10, and their largest lead of the half came when Kiah Stokes' free throw pushed it to 43-14 with 2:08 left.
By her high standards, Stewart - a two-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player - was coming off a subpar game against the Blue Devils in which she had 14 points on 7-of-14 shooting with five rebounds.
Auriemma said she was more assertive against the Pirates.
''I like when she's trying to find a lot of shots and we don't necessarily have to run a lot of stuff for her,'' he said. ''Most great players, the ball finds them more times than not.''
Connecticut: The Huskies became the first defending national champion - men's or women's - to visit Greenville's Minges Coliseum. ... The Huskies led 45-22 at half then pushed that to 66-22 with its big run out of the break.
East Carolina: The Pirates entered ranked second nationally with an average of 7.6 blocked shots and finished with five against UConn. ... ECU went 1 for 11 from 3-point range.
Connecticut is at St. John's on Sunday.
East Carolina is at Memphis on Sunday.