COLLEGE STATION (AP) – Little fazes Texas A&M veteran coach Gary Blair, whose team upset their way to the school’s lone national title two seasons ago. But Connecticut’s dominating performance on Sunday, without a doubt, fazed him.
“UConn was in midseason form,” Blair said of the Huskies’ 81-50 victory. “My freshmen have to learn on the fly. That’s what this schedule is all about, and that’s what this year is all about. Eventually we’re going to have to become a smarter basketball team. But by far this was the best team of three we’ve played.”
The 31-point setback marked Blair’s worst home loss since he began coaching A&M in 2003. The youthful Aggies, who feature seven freshmen among their 15 players, have lost to three straight top 10 programs to start the season.
Huskiers center Stefanie Dolson paved the way with a 24 points on 11 of 15 shooting. The Huskies (2-0) hammered the Aggies (0-3) in the paint 42-12, as A&M had no answer for the 6-foot-5 Dolson, a preseason All-Big East first team selection, and forwards Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (16 points) and Breanna Stewart (11 points) down low.
“Dolson just put on a clinic over my post players,” Blair said.
Texas A&M junior center Kelsey Bone, a preseason All-SEC first team selection, countered Dolson’s effort with eight points and three rebounds, in the top showing of an Aggie down low. UConn outrebounded A&M 40-28.
“If we throw it down to Stefanie, something good is going to happen,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “If we keep doing that, it’s going to put other (teams’) big guys under a lot of pressure.”
Freshman guard Courtney Walker led A&M with 20 points, the only Aggie to score in double figures.
“When we look back on this game, we will have learned execution can work wonders for you,” Walker said.
Speaking of, the Huskies continually worked the ball around the perimeter and inside, in tallying 27 assists to the Aggies’ 14.
“When points are coming from a lot of spots on the floor, we’re a hard team to play against,” Auriemma said. “We’re a really good outside shooting team. The danger of that is you come down the floor and pass the ball once and start jacking up jump shots. We really made a concentrated effort to get the ball in the lane.”
Added Dolson, “Teams are going make sure they take away our jump shots, which spreads the floor and opens up the paint. It makes it a lot easier for me and my job down there.”
UConn, with six underclassmen among its 11 players, is likely to slide into the top ranking after defending national champion Baylor fell to No. 4 Stanford 71-69 in the first game of the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Hawaii on Friday.
“That’s something we don’t even look at,” said UConn guard Kelly Faris, who tallied a game-high six assists, of the Huskies likely becoming No. 1. “All of that stuff is on paper. The stuff that really matters is what comes out on the court.”
UConn guard Bria Hartley missed her second consecutive game to start the season with a sprained ankle. The Huskies defeated the Aggies by the nearly identical score of 81-51 in last year’s Jimmy V Classic in the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.
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