UConn opens AAC Tourney with blowout of Tulsa; another 30 win season for the Huskies

Connecticut's Napheesa Collier, center, splits the defense of Tulsa's Kendrian Elliott, left, and Jessica Pongonis, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the American Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals at Mohegan Sun Arena, Saturday, March 4, 2017, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — UConn’s players understand the history they are making with every victory.

The top-ranked Huskies routed Tulsa 105-57 on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament to extend their NCAA-record winning streak to 105 games and give the program its 12th consecutive 30-win season.

“It’s pretty cool to carry on this tradition and make it part of the culture,” said Gabby Williams, one of six Huskies to reach double figures. “It’s not that easy at all to do that, so the fact that this program has done it that many times and that we’re able to continue it on, it’s pretty special.”

Napheesa Collier scored 24 points to lead UConn. Katie Lou Samuelson, who shared the conference player-of-the-year award with Collier a day earlier, added 19 points and Williams chipped in with 17. Natalie Butler scored 13, Crystal Dangerfield had 11 and Saniya Chong added 10.

It was the 19th game this season in which the Huskies (30-0) never trailed.

They shot 62 percent from the field and hit all 20 of their free throws.

“We do have a level of focus because it is the tournament,” Collier said.

Tulsa stayed in the game for the first 5 minutes and was down 8-7 despite making just three of its first 10 shots.

But Williams hit her first six shots and the Huskies led 25-12 after the first quarter. UConn scored the first seven points of the second quarter and the rout was on. A 3-point play by Natalie Butler gave UConn its first 30-point lead at 49-19.

It was 58-24 at halftime.

Erika Wakefield had 15 points for Tulsa (10-21). The Golden Hurricane lost seven of its final nine games but beat Cincinnati on the road to end the regular season and held off Memphis 60-55 in the opening round of the tournament.

“The season itself has been kind of a roller coaster, but the kids never stopped fighting,” Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman said. “I’m proud of the way our team finished the year, and I think we have a lot to look forward to.”

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