Published January 16. 2013 4:00AM
Hartford — It has been virtually impossible to glean very much from the third-ranked UConn women since the unthinkable.
You know. When they actually lost a game.
In the wake of the loss to No. 2 Notre Dame almost two weeks ago, the Huskies have been largely nondescript, defeating Georgetown and Marquette before their 72-58 win over No. 15 Louisville at the XL Center Tuesday night.
UConn (15-1, 3-1) was never threatened.
Louisville (14-4, 2-2), despite its ranking, didn't have many impressive wins on its resume, save perhaps an early season victory over No. 20 Texas A&M.
Stefanie Dolson led the Huskies with 16 points and nine rebounds while Bria Hartley, who had some ankle issues entering the game, had 16 points and seven rebounds. Kelly Faris scored 13 and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 12.
UConn played without freshman Breanna Stewart, who is nursing an injured ankle. UConn coach Geno Auriemma said he expects Stewart to play Saturday against Syracuse.
“It was going to be one of those games where we had to make plays against pressure,” Auriemma said. “Louisville plays hard and physical and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.”
Hartley missed six of her first seven three-point attempts and turned it over four times in the first half with zero assists.
Faris, who leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio, also turned it over seven times in the game with seven assists.
Hartley, however, made her first three-pointer of the second half with 18 minutes left that gave the Huskies a 42-27 lead.
Caroline Doty and Dolson followed with baskets to give UConn a 46-30 lead with 15:49 left.
Louisville launched a modest rally that got the game as close as 11 (48-37) with 12:10 remaining. But Mosqueda-Lewis answered with a jumper to make it 50-36.
Louisville never got it into single digits.
This was the first of three straight home games for the Huskies, whose growth since Notre Dame will be measured next week. Following a home game Saturday afternoon against Syracuse, UConn plays No. 4 Duke at Gampel Pavilion in the women's rendition of "Big Monday" on ESPN2.
Auriemma said after the Notre Dame game that he'd like to play Dolson more in the low post instead of the high post, believing his team needs a stronger presence under the basket. It has helped that sophomore forward Kiah Stokes has returned (she missed the Notre Dame game).
Stokes played 10 minutes against Georgetown and 19 against Marquette.
Stokes entered the game for the second time with 13:01 remaining after Dolson was whistled for her third foul. Dolson nearly earned her fourth — a non-call that had Louisville coach Jeff Walz protesting — before Auriemma decided on Stokes.
Stokes finished with six rebounds, three blocks and two points.
UConn has rebounded the ball better lately, evidenced by Tuesday's 40-29 advantage. UConn outrebounded Louisville 29-16 in the first half alone.
The Huskies held Louisville to 31 percent shooting in the first half and forced 13 turnovers en route to taking a 37-23 lead at the half.