LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Even in a new league, Connecticut doesn’t believe in sharing the wealth.
The top-ranked Huskies showed that in squashing No. 3 Louisville’s quest to forge a tie in the American Athletic Conference by overwhelming the Cardinals on the boards and other areas.
Leading the way was sophomore forward Breanna Stewart, whose 22 points and 14 rebounds led UConn to a 68-48 victory Monday night that helped the Huskies complete an unbeaten regular season. The win was the Huskies’ 37th straight — the third longest streak in school history.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 13 points and 10 boards for the Huskies (31-0, 18-0 AAC), who outrebounded Louisville (28-3, 16-2) 47-30 and outran the Cardinals to add the inaugural league title to their collection of Big East trophies. The defending NCAA champions also beat the Cardinals for the 14th straight time.
While Huskies coach Geno Auriemma has stressed taking nothing for granted with the possibility of facing Louisville again in this week’s conference tournament, he also told his players to savor their latest milestone achieved with 10 wins over ranked schools this season.
“It’s something to be proud of,” Auriemma said. “We don’t talk about it very often. We don’t stand on a podium and shout ‘We’re great.’ But we’ve done some really great things this past year and sometimes we need to step back and take a look at it.”
Like last month’s meeting in Storrs, Conn., UConn turned a small run into big momentum ending with another decisive victory. This time, it was an 11-0 first-half spurt for a 32-22 lead that eventually grew to 22 in the second half.
Texas 65, No. 18 Oklahoma State 58: In Austin, Texas, Imani McGee-Stafford scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Longhorns to the upset win.
Texas (20-10, 11-7 Big 12) took the lead early in the first half with a three-pointer from Nekia Jones that made it 11-8 and the Longhorns never trailed again, carrying a 30-21 advantage into the break and holding off the Cowgirls in the second half.
Oklahoma State (22-7, 11-7) was led by Kendra Suttles, who scored 14 points, while Tiffany Bias had 13 and Liz Donohoe 10.
South Florida 60, No. 24 Rutgers 51: In Piscataway, N.J., Courtney Williams scored 26 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds, helping South Florida take over sole possession of third place in the American Athletic Conference.
After Betnijah Laney’s jumper with 4:08 left in the first half pulled Rutgers within four, South Florida (18-11, 13-5) used a 15-3 run that bridged the two halves to open up a 40-24 lead with 16 minutes left.
Rutgers (21-8, 12-6) made just 9 of 26 field goals and committed nine turnovers in the first half.