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Connecticut crush

No. 1 seed Huskies dismantle St. Francis 97-46

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Posted: Friday March 12, 1999 09:23 PM

  Tamika Williams and the Huskies turned out the lights on the overmatched Red Flash. AP

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Top-seeded Connecticut was too fast, too strong and too tall for St. Francis of Pennsylvania.

The Huskies dismantled the Red Flash 97-46 Friday in the first round of the women's NCAA Mideast Regional.

"The talent and difference was really obvious and we wanted to take advantage of that," said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. "And that's what we did."

The Red Flash, the Northeast Conference champs, are 0-4 in the NCAA tourney. The Huskies are making their 11th straight appearance in the postseason and won the national title in 1995.

The Huskies (28-4) dominated from the opening tip with a smothering pressure defense and a speedy transition game.

Svetlana Abrosimova's free throw and a layup by freshman Asjha Jones gave the Huskies a 3-0 lead in the first minute. Junior Jess Zinoble converted a three-point play at the 18:45 mark to tie the game, the closest the 16th-seeded Red Flash would get.

Connecticut then went on a 19-2 run, fueled by 10 points from Shea Ralph and five from Abrosimova. The Huskies shot 63 percent from the field and held St. Francis (18-12) to 17 percent en route to a 59-20 halftime lead.

"We really came out really strong and jumped down their throats," said UConn senior Amy Duran. "That's key for us, to put them back on their heels. If we can keep doing that we'll be fine,"

Paige Sauer had 13 points and 11 rebound in a dozen minutes. At 6-foot-5 five, she towered over the smaller St. Francis squad.

"You don't get that in our league," Red Flash junior Jen DeFilippo. "We practiced against two defenders. It's really physical and wears you down after a while."

The second half was more of the same. Ralph led an 11-0 run with a layup at the 19:20 mark and UConn kept St. Francis off the board for the first three minutes of the half before Zinoble hit a jumper to end the drought.

Connecticut outrebounded the Red Flash 57-24.

Abrosimova, Ralph and Duran each had 13 points for Connecticut. The Huskies outscored the Red Flash 52-20 inside and had 31 points off St. Francis' turnovers.

Zinoble led St. Francis with 22 points.

"It certainly was a difficult game for us"' said St. Francis coach Jenny Przekwas.

She said her team did meet some of the goals it set in getting to the free-throw line and forcing turnovers.

"We should have set a goal to shoot a little better in the first half," Przekwas said.

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