STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 23 points and Breanna Stewart added 22 to help No. 2 UConn beat top-ranked South Carolina 87-62 on Monday night.
Moriah Jefferson had 16 points for the Huskies (23-1), who improved to 17-3 in matchups between the top two teams in the poll.
The teams traded baskets early and South Carolina (22-1) led 18-15 7½ minutes in before UConn took over. The Huskies scored the next 13 points to blow the game open. Jefferson got it started with a three-point play. Morgan Tuck and Mosqueda-Lewis added 3-pointers as UConn led 28-18.
Bianca Cuevas hit a floater with 8:48 left to end the drought for South Carolina, but it was short-lived. The Huskies scored the next eight to take command.
The Huskies led by 16 at the half and South Carolina could only get within 10 the rest of the way.
Aleighsa Welch and Tiffany Mitchell each scored 17 to lead the Gamecocks.
This game had been highly anticipated since it was the 54th meeting of The Associated Press women’s basketball poll’s top teams.
Not even a blizzard that dropped around a foot of snow in the area could keep fans away. Students arrived more than two hours before the game started to get in their seats where T-shirts awaited with the phrase “Basketball Capital of the World” adorning the front. Even the 600 fans who couldn’t make it turned in their tickets so that students on campus could attend to make this game a sellout. This was the first on-campus sellout for UConn since last season’s senior day.
After all, it’s not often that UConn has hosted a No. 1 team in the nation. Usually, it’s the Huskies who are the top team in the country. South Carolina has been No. 1 in the poll the last 12 weeks since UConn suffered its only loss of the season at Stanford.
Assuming the Huskies can beat Tulane on Saturday, they will reclaim the No. 1 position in the poll. That’s not too much of a stretch to believe since UConn has won its conference games this season by nearly 50 points a game.
With about a minute left, the student section started chanting, “We’re No. 1.”