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No. 1 UConn tops No. 13 Penn State 71-52

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm •  Published: November 17, 2013
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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Make it 3 for 3 against the Top 25 for UConn.

The top-ranked Huskies breezed through ranked teams this week like they were lightweights on the schedule, leaving no doubt coach Geno Auriemma's team will again be the one to beat in March.

But after Penn State became the latest ranked team to go down, the real question is, what chance do teams have at beating the Huskies?

"If we keep getting better," Auriemma said, "then it's going to be really hard to beat us."

Just ask the Lady Lions.

Bria Hartley tied a career high with 29 points and Saniya Chong had 16 to help Connecticut beat No. 13 Penn State 72-51 Sunday, snapping the Lady Lions' 22 game home-court winning streak.

The Huskies (4-0) knocked off their third Top 25 team of the week, beating No. 8 Maryland 72-55 on Friday night and No. 3 Stanford by 19 points on Monday.

That's scary news for Oregon, Boston University, Monmouth and the rest of the nonconference teams left on UConn's schedule.

"If we stay stagnant, don't move forward from here, we're setting ourselves up to get beat," Auriemma said. "The fact that we beat three really good teams this week, that's great. That's great for the players, great for their confidence. That was a big test for them."

They built a 23-point lead early in the second half against the Lady Lions (2-1) and held on to win the program's 199th game against a ranked team.

Breanna Stewart added 14 points for the short-handed Huskies, who were without two of their best players, preseason All-American Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and sophomore forward Morgan Tuck. Mosqueda-Lewis injured her elbow against Stanford, and Tuck is expected to miss at least a month after undergoing right knee surgery Tuesday.

Playing short-handed and on the road, nothing bedevils the Huskies.

"I think it shows when we can come into places that get a lot of fans and have a hostile environment, we can still get done what we want to get done," Stewart said.

With football coach Bill O'Brien and basketball coach Pat Chambers rooting them on from their courtside seats, Maggie Lucas led a late run that helped the Lady Lions make the game respectable. It just wasn't enough for a comeback win. She came up limping after a 3-pointer early in the second half, taking a brief breather on the bench, but returned a few possessions later.

Her ankle fine after an awkward landing on a defender's foot, Lucas hit a 3 that pulled the Lady Lions to 52-37 and brought 8,194 fans to their feet. Tori Waldner followed with another 3 and Dara Taylor hit a fall-away jumper to make it 55-42 and start the booming "We Are!" chants from the fans.

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