The No. 1-ranked Connecticut Huskies cleared the first major hurdle in the defense of their national championship Monday night, hammering the No. 3 Stanford Cardinals 76-57 at Gampel Pavilion, but the win might have come at a price.
The Huskies lost All-America Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis early in the second half after she landed awkwardly on her right arm. The injury didn’t slow down Connecticut, which was on a 22-6 run at the time that gave the Huskies a 21-point lead with 13:19 remaining.
The Cardinal (1-1) couldn’t get closer than 15 the rest of the way.
Stanford’s All-America forward, Chiney Ogwumike, had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, but she had to work for the scoring. Ogwumike was just 6-for-16 from the floor and the Cardinal were held to just 35 percent shooting on the night (21-for-60).
Amber Orrange was the only other player in double figures for Stanford, scoring a career- and game-high 22 points. Each team was coming in off opening wins over lesser competition. The Cardinal won at Boston College 83-71 on Saturday, while UConn demolished Hartford 89-34 the same day.
The Cardinal came in hoping to return to favor to the Huskies, who last year ended Stanford’s 82-game winning streak at Maples Pavilion with a 61-35 win. That came two years after the Cardinal broke UConn’s NCAA-record 90-game winning streak.
The schools have a long history—they met in the Final Four or NCAA title game every year from 2008-10.
The teams got off to a slow start, combining to miss 14 of the first 16 shots attempted in the game.
Outside of Orrange and Ogwumike, though, Stanford could not muster any offense in the first half. UConn broke out to a 39-26 halftime lead, with Orrange and Ogwumike combining for 22 of Stanford’s 26 points.
Stanford returns home on Friday night to play Cal Poly (0-2) at Maples Pavilion. Tip is set for 7 p.m.