No. 1 UConn women rout No. 2 Duke, 83-61

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 18, 2013 at 2:09 am •  Published: December 18, 2013

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Geno Auriemma and his Connecticut Huskies always seem to thrive on the big stage.

Tuesday night was no different as the No. 1 team in the country turned its latest showdown into another rout, beating second-ranked Duke 83-61.

"I think these are the reasons we come to Connecticut, to play in the big games," said Breanna Stewart, who led the Huskies with 24 points and 11 rebounds. "We have a huge target on our back and teams will always give us their best run. That's what you want as a competitor."

The victory over Duke was the Huskies' fourth over a ranked team this season. They've beaten Stanford, Maryland and Penn State with relative ease, with each game decided way before the final buzzer. UConn has always excelled in 1-2 matchups, winning 15 of the 18 games they've played in.

What's scary for the rest of the women's basketball landscape is that the first three wins came with the Huskies (11-0) not at full strength. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis injured her elbow in the victory over Stanford and missed the next eight games. She showed no rust against Duke, hitting a career-high seven 3-pointers. Whenever Duke seemed to make any sort of run, the junior forward would hit a key 3 to end the challenge.

"I don't think we would have won the game the way we won it without her," Auriemma said. "She showed why she is a special player."

This was the seventh straight victory for the Huskies in the series with Duke. The previous six were decided by an average of nearly 30 points. Auriemma thought this one might be a little different. It wasn't.

"I think I would be less than honest if I said I thought we could come in here and win by 20," said Auriemma, who earned his 850th career win. "Simply because we haven't played in (12 days). We weren't sure what we were going to get from (Mosqueda-Lewis and Morgan Tuck). And I thought Duke being at home and they've got a bunch of upperclassmen ... it would be a little bit different."

Chelsea Gray had 13 points and Haley Peters finished with 11 for Duke (10-1), which had its 24-game winning streak at Cameron snapped — a run that dated to UConn's last visit in 2011.

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