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Top-ranked UConn women rout Prairie View

STORRS, Conn. — Breanna Stewart led a balanced offense with 19 points and 10 rebounds as defending champion UConn routed Prairie View A&M 87-44 in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday.

Stewart was among five Huskies (35-0) who scored in double figures on coach Geno Auriemma's 60th birthday, giving him his 92nd NCAA tournament win.

Moriah Jefferson had 14 points, four assists and five steals. Bria Hartley had 16 points.

LaReahn Washington scored 13 points to lead Prairie View. The Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament champions finish their season at 14-18.

The Huskies, who just completed their seventh undefeated regular season, are looking for a record ninth NCAA title. They will face Saint Joseph's in a second-round game Tuesday night. The Hawks beat Georgia 67-57 earlier Sunday.

The victory extended the third-longest winning streak in program history to 41 games, a streak that started with a win in the first round of last year's tournament.

UConn ended any suspense in this one very early, scoring the game's first 15 points and holding Prairie View without a basket for the first 5 1/2 minutes of the game.

Stefanie Dolson made the first three baskets, and had eight of the first 10 points. She finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Jefferson gave the Huskies their first 30-point lead at 42-12 after rebounding a Stewart miss late in the first half, and UConn led 44-12 at intermission.

They opened the second half on a 16-0 run and led 73-23 after a 3-pointer by Hartley.

The Huskies held Prairie view to 25 percent shooting (16 of 64) and outrebounded the Lady Panthers 52-28, including 44-12 in the first half. The Huskies sang happy birthday and clapped as Auriemma was doing his postgame television interview.

They are now 10-1 his birthday, the lone loss coming to North Carolina State in the 1998 regional final.

The biggest cheer after intermission came when the UConn cheerleaders were able to hold one of their members aloft longer than Prairie View's cheerleading team in a contest held during a timeout.

The Lady Panthers were just the ninth team to get a tournament berth with a losing record, after winning their fourth consecutive SWAC conference title. The team lost its first 11 games this season, before turning things around late. But they fall to 0-6 in the NCAA tournament.

UConn has been beating opponents by an average of 36 points a game this season, about a point better than their margin of victory in last year's six tournament games that ended with the program's eighth national title.

The Huskies, who are making their 26th straight appearance in the tournament, have made the regional semifinals 20 straight times since losing in the first round to Louisville in 1993.

Auriemma's 92 tournament wins leave him 20 behind fellow Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt for the most of any college coach, men's or women's. Duke men's coach Mike Krzyzewski is in third place with 81.

The Huskies also added to some other impressive numbers, improving to 46-4 in NCAA games played in Connecticut, and 33-3 in games played at Gampel Pavilion.

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