Published January 22. 2014 4:00AM
Following top-ranked UConn's 94-64 dismantling of Rutgers on Sunday, C. Vivian Stringer made a rather bold pronouncement.
"It's Connecticut," the Rutgers head coach said. "... And it's everybody else."
Stringer likely won't get an argument from Memphis and its head coach, Melissa McFerrin.
The Tigers play the Huskies in an American Athletic Conference game at the XL Center tonight at 9 (SNY), their second meeting in 18 days. UConn (19-0, 6-0) hammered Memphis 90-49 on Jan. 4 at the FedEx Forum and a similar result is expected in Hartford as the Huskies go for their 25th straight win.
Not much has changed since that first meeting. Memphis (10-8, 3-3) remains a middle-of-the-pack AAC opponent while UConn continues to flourish with a starting lineup that features four potential All-Americans and a fifth - speedy point guard Moriah Jefferson - playing at an All-American level.
Jefferson, who is averaging 10.5 points per game (all five Husky starters are averaging double digits), has 13 assists in the last two games - wins over No. 12 Baylor and Rutgers - and the 5-foot-7 sophomore has not committed a turnover in those 70 minutes while scoring 26 points and shooting 63 percent (10-for-16 from the floor).
She is joined in the backcourt by senior Bria Hartley (14.8 ppg.), who was named AAC Player of the Week after scoring a career-high 30 points against the Scarlet Knights, including six 3-pointers.
The Huskies also have the best frontcourt in the country - 6-4 sophomore forward Breanna Stewart (18.3 points, 8 rebounds per game) and 6-5 senior center Stefanie Dolson (13.3, 9.5) - and one of the best 3-point shooters in junior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (10.5), who is rounding back into form after missing eight games with an elbow injury.
Kiah Stokes (8.0 rebounds per game) continues to play a valuable reserve role up front, especially with absence of sophomore forward Morgan Tuck, who has missed the last three games with a sore right knee and will likely watch from the bench again tonight.
The game will be the first of back-to-back appearances at the XL Center, where UConn hasn't played since defeating UC Davis (97-37) on Dec. 5. The Huskies host South Florida on Sunday at noon.