Top-ranked UConn wins 49th straight game, 95-35 over Tulsa
HARTFORD, CONN. — Saniya Chong hadn't started for UConn since the team's last lost — 50 games ago.
Chong, forced into the lineup Wednesday night by an injury to starting point guard Moriah Jefferson, responded with 18 points to lead top-ranked UConn to its 49th consecutive win, a 95-35 rout of Tulsa.
"I couldn't be (Moriah), but I had to go out there, give it my all and contribute to the team," Chong said.
Morgan Tuck also scored 18 points, 16 in the first half, and the three-time defending national champions (12-0, 2-0 American) had five players in double figures.
Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson had 14 points while Breanna Stewart added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Tuck hit her first four shots from the floor and UConn held Tulsa without a basket for the final five minutes of the first quarter, part of a 15-0 run that put the game away early.
"I knew I had an advantage on the inside, because they were a little undersized," Tuck said. "My goal is to make every layup in the game. I shouldn't miss close to the rim."
A jumper by Stewart put the Huskies up 49-18 at the half.
Ashley Clark had 10 points for Tulsa (5-9, 2-1), which was coming off a pair of two-point wins to open its conference season.
Jefferson, who is averaging 13.2 points and 6.1 assists, pulled her right hamstring in practice Friday and missed her first game after 90 consecutive starts. She participated in pregame drills, and coach Geno Auriemma said she is expected to play at Houston on Friday. She had played in all 129 previous games during her UConn career, leading the Huskies to 124 wins.
She wasn't needed in this one.
Chong who has been struggling with an injury to her right knee all season, played 29 minutes in her place. She made six of her 11 shots and had four rebounds and four assists.
"I'm happy for her," said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. "It's not easy to come out and play when you haven't practiced a lot this year and you haven't played a lot of game minutes."
UConn dominated the undersized Golden Hurricane in the post, outscoring Tulsa 42-18 in the paint.
They also scored 33 points off 19 Tulsa turnovers, outrebounded the Hurricane 52-29 and blocked 10 shots.
The Hurricane starting lineup included just one player, 6-foot-2 center Crystal Polk, who is taller than 5-11. UConn had just one starter, the 5-8 Chong, who is under 6-feet tall.
The Huskies shot 50.7 percent from the floor and held Tulsa to just 26.7 percent.
Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman said it wasn't the size differential that made the difference, it was the effort.
"Every loose ball, they got," she said. "They crashed the boards really well and they got a lot of offensive rebounds."
This was just the third meeting between the two programs. UConn won last year's games by 38 and 46 points.
The Huskies have never lost an American Athletic Conference game. They have now won all 38 regular-season contests in addition to their six AAC Tournament games.
The 49-game winning streak is the third longest in program history, behind their NCAA record 90-game streak from 2008-10 and a 70-game streak in 2001-03.
Tulsa: The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Hurricane, who won their first two conference games for the first time since 2007-08, when they were members of Conference USA.
UConn: Stewart's nine rebounds give her 945 for her career and moved her past Peggy Walsh (937) into sixth place on UConn's career rebounding list. Tina Charles tops that list with 1,367.
UConn: The Huskies begin a three-game road trip on Friday at Houston.
Tulsa: The Hurricanes continue their three-game road trip on Friday at Temple
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