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UConn women open AAC tournament with rout of ECU

Connecticut's Kia Nurse (11) cheers on her

Connecticut's Kia Nurse (11) cheers on her teammates against East Carolina in an AAC Tournament quarterfinal at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on Saturday. UConn advanced, 92-51. Credit: TNS / Brad Horrigan

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Morgan Tuck and Katie Lou Samuelson each scored 16 points and top-ranked UConn opened its postseason with a 92-51 rout of East Carolina in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic conference tournament.

Breanna Stewart added 15 points and eight rebounds to a balanced scoring attack that had five Huskies (30-0) reach double figures. The win gives the Huskies their 11th straight 30-win season and 21st in program history.

It also extends the third-longest winning streak in program and Division I women’s basketball history to 67 games. The Huskies need three more to catch the UConn teams that won 70 in a row between November 2001 and March 2003.

UConn will play Tulane in the semifinals on Sunday.

Jada Payne scored 16 points and I’Tiana Taylor added 14 for East Carolina, which finishes its season at 13-19.

UConn put the game away early. They outscored East Carolina 32-19 in the first quarter and led by 30 points at halftime.

UConn shot 59 percent from the field, making 41 of 69 shots. They outrebounded the Pirates 42-20 and outscored them 64-14 in the paint.

The Huskies, who trailed after the first quarter of their previous two games, got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 14-5 lead on a layup by Kia Nurse. Samuelson had six points and an assist during that stretch.

A 3-point play by Stewart made it 26-9 and the Huskies led 32-19 after the first quarter. UConn made 14 of its first 19 shots and outscored the Pirates 24-6 in the paint over the first 10 minutes.

UConn took its first 30-point lead when Gabrielle Holston dribbled the ball off her leg, Moriah Jefferson stole it and found Nurse for a layup. That made it 52-22 at halftime.

East Carolina scored the first five points of the third quarter, but the Huskies responded and extended their lead to 66-31 before emptying the bench.

Gabby Williams made seven of her nine shots from the floor and finished with 15 points. Nurse added 13 points and Jefferson had eight points, seven assists and four steals.

The Huskies, looking for their third straight conference title, are 7-0 in the history of the American tournament. They are 61-0 against American Athletic Conference teams since the league was formed, winning all of those games by double digits.

The closest call was an 84-70 win over South Florida in last year’s conference final.

Payne, who scored her 2,000th point in the Pirates’ first-round win over Cincinnati, finishes her career with 2,029.

New York Sports