The UConn Huskies women's basketball team returned to the court with heavy hearts as it was their turn to honor the victims in last week's tragedy in Newton, CT.
And unlike their male counterparts, the UConn women showed little signs of rust.
Behind the hot hand of Bria Hartley in the first half, the No. 2 Huskies went on to a very easy 97-25 win over the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Wednesday night in front of 8,325 at the XL Center in Hartford, CT.
UConn improves to 9-0 while the Golden Grizzlies fall to 5-6.
Hartley had 21 points, 19 of them coming in the first half. She also had six rebounds, four assists and five steals.
Freshman Breanna Stewart picked up her second career double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds while adding two blocks and two steals. Brianna Banks improved play continued with 18 points and six rebounds. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis narrowly missed a double-double of her own with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Elizabeth Hamlet scored over half of her teams' 25 points with 14. The next highest scorers on the team were Elena Popkey and Shelby Harrington who had four points each.
The Golden Grizzlies actually made more free throws (eight) than they did field goals (seven).
It was nice to see the way Hartley played. She definitely looked like the Hartley of old. The one who can dominate and play aggressively. The time off for final exams probably did her good coming off the ankle injury which had limited her earlier in the season.
The UConn women will return to their roots on Saturday in a sense. They'll take on the Hartford Hawks at Chase Arena on campus at the University of Hartford. And when I said roots, I mean it'll be like playing in a high school gymnasium where the expected sell-out crowd will be on top of them. Tip is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Here are the postgame quotes from UConn head coach Geno Auriemma.
Here are UConn's postgame notes.
photo credit: david butler II - hartford courant (no. 6 in gallery)