Hayes scores 22, No. 3 UConn women beat 'Nova
VILLANOVA—Tiffany Hayes and UConn's five-guard lineup overwhelmed Villanova.
Hayes scored 14 of her 22 points in the second half and the Huskies harassed the Wildcats into 23 turnovers in No. 3 UConn's 72-49 win on Saturday.
Connecticut scored 21 points off those turnovers and turned what was a competitive game with just over 12 minutes to play into a blowout.
"We tried doing the same things we always do, trying to pick up full court pressure and Villanova isn't an easy team to press and trap against," Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said. "But once we got the pressure deep into their backcourt, I think we unsettled them."
Rachel Roberts scored 16 points for the Wildcats, who got within five points when two baskets by Emily Leer made it 41-36, but Connecticut (14-2, 4-1 Big East) answered by scoring 12 of the next 15 points to retake control of the game.
We were hoping to have enough success where they missed enough 3s so that it didn't hurt us," Auriemma said. "So then we could still play our regular lineup. But I thought Villanova shot the ball really well from the three-point line today, so it forced us to go the other way. I thought we did a good job with the pressure, and Villanova doesn't turn the ball over very much, but they turned it over a lot today.
Hayes scored 10 straight points during a four-minute stretch.
She scored a layup, nailed a 3-pointer, ripped through the Villanova defense for another layup and finished with another 3-pointer to give Connecticut a 58-42 lead with less than six minutes to play.
"My teammates were finding me," Hayes said. "We worked on some of the (five-guard) stuff during practice this week. I like it. It's faster paced and it gives us a lot of good looks and it creates a lot of steals."
Bria Hartley, who played 39 minutes, led Connecticut with four steals. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Tiffany Hayes each had 3 of the Huskies 15 total.
Kelly Faris led the Huskies with seven rebounds.
Villanova (11-6, 2-3) went 7:49 without scoring in the first half, turning a 15-11 lead into a 26-15 deficit. Connecticut went into halftime leading 37-26.
"We had trouble with their press," Villanova coach Harry Perretta said. "Going with five guards made it very difficult to guard them."