By JANIE McCAULEY, Associated Press
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Geno Auriemma insists long winning streaks do little to get him amped up, even after he traveled his Connecticut team across the country to face top-ranked Stanford and its daunting 82-game unbeaten run at Maples Pavilion.
The Huskies sure got a thrill from leaving with an unexpected rout and silencing a typically raucous crowd — and likely stealing away the No. 1 spot in the polls along with it.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and second-ranked UConn played spoiler and streak-buster this time, snapping Stanford's nation-leading home winning streak with a surprisingly easy 61-35 victory Saturday.
It was the Huskies who saw the end of their NCAA record 90-game winning streak at Maples Pavilion with a 71-59 loss two years ago, almost to the day on Dec. 30.
"The last time we were here it was a big event for them and they treated it like it was a big event, and God bless them," Auriemma said. "But for us to win a game here in late December, it's no more than just a big game against a really good team. The other stuff, I didn't get all that excited about us winning 90, I'm not going to get that excited about us beating somebody who's won 82 in a row at home."
Mosqueda-Lewis scored 19 points as UConn (11-0) thoroughly outplayed Stanford (11-1) on both ends of the floor in this highly touted game featuring the country's top programs and Final Four regulars from opposite coasts.
Stanford got harassed right off the home floor that it ruled with perfection and dominant play for nearly six years — and the Huskies surely took the Cardinal's No. 1 spot along with it.
The game was the 51st meeting between the top two teams in the poll. The No. 1 seed had won the previous nine matchups and holds a 31-20 lead.
Chiney Ogwumike had 18 points and 13 rebounds but struggled in the post as Stanford lost at home for the first time since March 2007.
"It was a bad day. Whatever we were trying to do, we really struggled with it," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "Connecticut came in here on a mission. Mission accomplished."
Stefanie Dolson had 10 points and 14 rebounds and flustered Ogwumike all afternoon, and Bria Hartley and Kelly Faris also scored 10 apiece for UConn.
Breanna Stewart scored seven straight points during a decisive 17-2 run in the first half as UConn built a 22-7 lead against the cold-shooting Cardinal and kept the pressure on the rest of the way.
Stanford trailed 31-13 at halftime in one of its worst 20 minutes in recent memory — though the school had no record of when the Cardinal were last held to that few points in a half.
They had gone five full seasons with an unbeaten record on their home floor.
Mosqueda-Lewis, last season's Big East top freshman averaging 16.4 points and 5.0 rebounds, shot 7 for 13 as Connecticut shot 37.5 percent from the floor — and that was plenty good enough against a Stanford team that wound up at a dismal 19.3 percent (11 for 57) in its lowest single-game shooting performance and fewest field goals made.
"I love the game, I think it's a great game for both teams, but for our game two years ago it was a national event — I don't think tonight was a national event," Auriemma said. "We beat a really good Stanford team on their home court and they happened to have won a lot of games at home."
Stanford had four early possessions over the opening 4 1/2 minutes in which it faced a dwindling shot clock.
This wasn't the Cardinal's worst home loss ever — that was a 96-51 defeat to Long Beach State on March 10, 1983 — though UConn sure made it feel like it for an afternoon to silence a typically animated crowd.
Auriemma was booed by the crowd during pregame introductions, then again when the coach was whistled for a technical foul with his team ahead 19 points with 13:22 remaining.
UConn, which had trailed for only 48 seconds all season coming into the game and now just 2:21 in all, won for the first time at Stanford in four tries.
Ogwumike, Stanford's leading scorer and rebounder averaging 21.8 points and 12.8 boards, was held to 6-for-22 shooting.
"I don't think I've experienced anything like this," Ogwumike said. "That Connecticut team we played for 40 minutes is the standard. And the great thing is now we've experienced the standard."