UConn women rout Marquette 85-45
MILWAUKEE—Marquette coach Terri Mitchell sees her team's 40-point loss to Connecticut differently than most people.
A year ago she led the Golden Eagles to a 24-9 record and the second round of the NCAA tournament. But with only two starters returning this is a rebuilding year and Saturday's loss was the ninth in the last 10 games for Marquette.
"It is very hard to rebuild," Mitchell said. "This is what I say, `We've been beat but not defeated.' It's really easy to quit this time of year and they haven't. So my job is to keep trying to find those pieces (for next year).
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored a career-high 27 points and Hayes added 20, including 18 in the second half, to lead fourth-ranked Connecticut to an easy 85-45 win over Marquette on Saturday.
"It's hard to beat us when those guys are playing like that," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.
The Huskies (26-3, 13-2 Big East) have won all seven meetings against Marquette and will face No. 3 Notre Dame on Monday night to try and earn a share of the conference regular season title.
"You have to say to yourself, `Will the same stuff that worked tonight work Monday night as well,'", Auriemma said.
Even with a victory Monday, UConn will be the No. 2 seed in the Big East tournament because of tiebreakers.
Hayes scored 13 points in the first seven minutes of the second half to help UConn blow the game open.
"I was moved to the post spot and they did a good job finding me. I was either driving and kicking or driving and finishing at the rim," she said.
Mosqueda-Lewis scored 15 points in the first half to lead the Huskies to a 34-21 advantage at the break. The freshman's previous career high was 25.
"It just feels good to be able to help the team. The main goal for all of us is to win a national championship," said Mosqueda-Lewis. "But yeah, it does give me some personal satisfaction."
Connecticut shot 49 percent from the field while holding Marquette to just 21 percent shooting.
"They hit the shots, we didn't," Mitchell said. "UConn does their work before they catch. They are great with their speed setting you up. We were catching and then doing the work. "That's why you get our shooting percentage."
Katherine Plouffe scored 16 points to lead the Golden Eagles (13-15, 4-11), who have lost five straight and nine of their last 10 games.
Mosqueda-Lewis scored eight points to spark a nine-point run that put the Huskies ahead 15-6 with 12:52 left to play in the first half.
Marquette pulled within seven at 21-14 on a pair of free throws by Arlesia Morse with 4:57 left. Mosqueda-Lewis immediately sank a 3-pointer and Marquette never got that close again.
Hayes's early second half scoring burst gave the Huskies an insurmountable 22 points lead with 13:19 remaining.
"We played really well today. We shot the ball pretty well in stretches. We didn't turn the ball over," Auriemma said.