STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Cincinnati had a simple game plan against top-ranked Connecticut — stop the Huskies' transition game, and force UConn to make at least four or five passes on each offensive possession.
The Bearcats forced UConn into a half-court game and held the Huskies to 19 points below their season average, but lost 67-34 on Sunday.
"They still beat us by 30; they are the No. 1 team in the country," said Cincinnati coach Jamelle Elliott, a former UConn player and assistant coach. "But there are some small individual goals that we accomplished that's going to help our guys move forward from this 30-point loss."
Cincinnati (7-5, 0-1 American Athletic Conference), which is winless in nine meetings against the Huskies, was led by Jeanise Randolph who had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Breanna Stewart recorded her fourth straight double-double for Connecticut (13-0, 1-0 American), scoring 12 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. She also had four steals and two blocked shots. Moriah Jefferson and Bria Hartley each added 12 points.
The Huskies held Cincinnati scoreless for the game's first six minutes and led 16-0 before Kayla Cook got the Bearcats on the board with a 3-pointer. UConn led by 13 at halftime and used a 16-3 run in the second half to put the game out of reach.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had seven points during the Huskies early run, but also picked up three early fouls and had to sit for the final 14 minutes of the first half and didn't score again.
"We kind of got stuck, and we stayed stuck for the rest of the first half," said UConn coach Geno Auriemma.
Cincinnati responded by scoring 14 of the next 20 points and outscoring UConn 20-17 the rest of the half. A 3-pointer by Marley Hill just before the halftime buzzer cut the UConn lead to 33-20.
"After that first run they got on us, I thought we played pretty good basketball up until the end of the first half," Elliott said.
Cincinnati cut the lead to 35-24 before UConn took control. Hartley went end-to-end after rebounding a missed jumper by Bianca Quisenberry to give UConn a 51-27 lead and force a Cincinnati timeout.
"It's always good to win a game when you're not making shots and you have to find other ways to compete and get into the game," Hartley said. "Even though our offense wasn't good today, we were able to come out and play well defensively.