Stewart leads No. 1 UConn past Maryland 72-55

Updated at: 11/15/2013 7:35 PM
By DAVID GINSBURG

(AP) COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Breanna Stewart scored 26 points, and top-ranked Connecticut showed its depth and quickness against No. 8 Maryland in a 72-55 victory on Friday night.

The short-handed Huskies (3-0) used a 13-2 run early in the second half to take a 56-45 lead, and Maryland (2-1) never get closer than nine points.

It was Connecticut’s second win over a Top 10 team in a five-day span. The Huskies breezed past No. 3 Stanford by 19 points on Monday.

Alyssa Thomas had 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Terrapins, who lost to UConn twice last season _ on the road and in the NCAA tournament.

In this one, Connecticut was without two of its best players, preseason All-American Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and sophomore forward Monica Tuck. Mosqueda-Lewis injured her elbow against Stanford, and Tuck is expected to miss at least a month after undergoing right knee surgery Tuesday.

Stewart and the fleet-footed backcourt duo of Bria Hartley and Moriah Jefferson made up for the absence of the two starters, and it didn’t matter that UConn center Stefanie Dolson picked up her fourth foul with 16:11 remaining.

Jefferson had 15 points and four assists, and Hartley contributed 10 points and six assists.

The game was tied at 43 before Stewart scored off her own miss, Dolson made two straight baskets and Jefferson sank a layup. Thomas ended the run with a jumper, but two free throws by Stewart and a 3-pointer by Brianna Banks gave the Huskies a comfortable 11-point cushion.

Banks twisted her left ankle late in the first half but returned to score seven of her nine points after halftime.

Connecticut has won 49 consecutive games in November and improved to 36-9 against teams in the Top 10 since the start of the 2008-09 season. The Huskies will next face No. 13 Penn State on the road Sunday.

Stewart scored 19 points in the first half to stake Connecticut to a 44-38 lead. Thomas had a double-double before the break, scoring 14 with 10 rebounds.

Over the first nine minutes, there were four ties and nine lead changes. Thomas and Stewart traded baskets in the early-going, accounting for all the points in a 7-7 tie.

The Huskies created some separation with an 8-0 run for a 23-17 lead. Thomas answered hit two straight jumpers, and Maryland closed to 30-29 before Stewart nailed a 3-pointer to keep UConn in front.

Maryland went ahead 36-35 while Stewart was on the bench, but the Huskies closed the half with six straight points.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)