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UConn women take the long way home, meet Houston

Published January 07. 2014 4:00AM
Huskies facing new competition in AAC foes

Storrs - The top-ranked UConn women's basketball team, which took its show on the road last week for the first time to take on an American Athletic Conference opponent, returns home to Gampel Pavilion tonight for a conference game against Houston (7 p.m., SNY).

"It's been a long trip to say the least, and I'm really, really thrilled with the way we handled the entire trip," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said following Saturday's 90-49 victory at Memphis.

The win completed a five-day journey that began with a 77-49 win over Central Florida in Orlando on New Year's Eve and allowed the reigning national champion Huskies (15-0, 3-0) to expose their talents to a pair of new conference opponents in new cities and venues.

"We probably made some new fans (Saturday) that became UConn fans," Auriemma said after beating Memphis.

Tonight, UConn faces a struggling Houston team which is completing a two-game road trip in the Northeast. The Cougars (4-10, 0-3) lost at Rutgers on Saturday, 68-47, despite getting 19 points from 6-foot-1 senior forward Marissa Ashton off the bench and a 12-point, 10-rebound effort from 6-2 senior center Yasmeen Thompson.

Ashton and Thompson will have their hands full tonight, however, when they face the nation's top frontcourt duo in center Stefanie Dolson and forward Brianna Stewart. The 6-5 Dolson is averaging 14.1 points and 10.1 rebounds a game for the Huskies while shooting 59 percent from the floor and the 6-4 Stewart leads UConn in scoring (18.1) while averaging eight rebounds a game.

All five Husky starters are averaging in double figures with guard/forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis averaging 12.3 points per game, guard Bria Hartley averaging 13.8 and guard Moriah Jefferson averaging 10.3. Mosqueda-Lewis, who is rounding back into top form after missing eight games with an elbow injury, is coming off a 21-point performance at Memphis, including five 3-pointers.

Said Auriemma of the 6-foot junior: "She was more aggressive at everything, more looking for opportunities to score, more looking to rebound the ball more and get inside more to make a couple plays. It's not easy coming back from not playing. ... Little by little, we're starting to see the Kaleena we're used to seeing."

Following tonight's game, the Huskies will play a "home" game against Temple at noon Saturday at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.

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