Connecticut's Kia Nurse (11) goes up for a shot against DePaul's Chanise Jenkins (13) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Paul Beaty
December 02, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) For 20 minutes, Connecticut looked out of sorts trying to keep up in a fast-paced game it wanted no part of.

But after two quarters of chasing DePaul, the top-ranked Huskies settled in and relied on the style they used to run off 42 straight wins.

Breanna Stewart had 29 points and 12 rebounds and Morgan Tuck added 16 points as the Huskies overpowered the No. 23 Blue Demons in an 86-70 victory on Wednesday night.

The three-time defending national champion Huskies (5-0) have not lost since Nov. 17, 2014, 88-86 to Stanford.

''I just turned around and said, `This is crazy - this is complete insanity,''' Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. ''(I said) I can't live like this. We can't play like this.''

The Huskies made an abrupt change in the second half and used a 12-2 run to start the second half to build a 13-point lead after leading 44-41 at halftime.

Stewart was dominant with her double-double, helping Connecticut take a 47-27 rebounding edge along with Tuck, who had 11 rebounds.

Katie Lou Samuelson and Kia Nurse each scored 10 points to balance out Connecticut's offense.

But getting away from trying to keep pace with the Blue Demons (5-2) proved to be pivotal for Connecticut, especially in the opening minutes of the second half.

''The biggest key to our run was making sure we were staying composed within ourselves,'' Stewart said.

DePaul was led by Jessica January, who scored 18 points. Brooke Schulte scored 12 and Chanise Jenkins finished with 10.

DePaul, which hit a season-high 13 3-pointers, got as close as 65-60 with under eight minutes to play on Brandi Harvey-Carr's putback basket.

But Connecticut responded with six straight points to extend the Huskies lead back to double digits. After being able to make runs at the nation's top team, DePaul finally ran out of answers as the Huskies' athleticism and size finally took over.

''When you're playing the No. 1 team in the nation, you can't give them easy shots,'' January said. ''That really hurt us at the end.''

DePaul's only other loss came against No. 5 Baylor, remained close with 3-point shooting throughout the first half. The Blue Demons were 9 of 17 from beyond the arc during the first two quarters.

But that's when the Huskies turned the tables, using a late offensive surge from Samuelson to pull away and keep Connecticut's winning streak intact despite winning by its lowest margin of the season.

Auriemma will take the tough test, understanding it will only make the Huskies better as the season goes on.

''Mentally, we got better,'' Auriemma said. ''We understand that people are going to test you.''


Connecticut: improved to 13-1 all-time against DePaul. The Huskies' 16-point win marked the first time this season they have beaten an opponent by less than 40 points - something Auriemma doesn't have a problem with. ''I don't want people to think that every time Connecticut plays, they have to win by 40 and if they don't what's wrong with Connecticut,'' he said. ''How about, what's right with DePaul?''

DePaul: The 13 3-pointers were the most the Blue Demons have hit in a game this season after connecting on 11 on Nov. 19 in an 84-69 win over Indiana.


Connecticut: hosts No. 3 Notre Dame on Saturday.

DePaul: hosts Illinois State on Saturday.

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