No. 1 UConn cruises by Colorado State
Updated: Tuesday March 20, 2001 1:11 PM
STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Swin Cash and the Connecticut Huskies made quick work of yet another overmatched NCAA tournament opponent.
Cash had 18 points and 11 rebounds as the top-seeded Huskies beat the Rams 89-44 on Monday night to reach the round of 16 for the eighth straight year.
"Everything goes back to our defense," Cash said. "We were getting out, pressing in the wing, trying to make them go back door. Our defense took care of everything, basically."
Connecticut (30-2) will play North Carolina State on Saturday in Pittsburgh in the East Regional semifinals.
It will be a homecoming for Cash, who grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of McKeesport. She anchored the Huskies' strong post play and combined with Asjha Jones, Tamika Williams and Kelly Schumacher for 37 points, 33 rebounds and five blocks.
They were an imposing foursome from the opening tip.
"They are huge," said Lisa Narkiewicz, who led the Rams with 14 points. "You try to block them out and it didn't look like we we're blocking them out. I don't think they moved a centimeter."
UConn outrebounded the Rams 53-27, getting 29 on the defensive boards. The Huskies scored 31 points off Colorado State turnovers.
"They were fabulous today," coach Geno Auriemma said of his post players. "We've got to take advantage of that. We don't have as many automatics any more."
The Huskies put together the back-to-back blowouts without All-Americans Shea Ralph and Svetlana Abrosimova, out with season- ending injuries.
Cash said she's had to step up her game to fill part of that void but knows she can do more.
"I don't think I put enough pressure on myself to really get after the ball. And I know right now we need it," Cash said. "Svetlana's not here and she was a big rebounder from the guard position."
The win assured the defending champs of their seventh 30-game win season in eight years. UConn beat Long Island University 101-29 in the first round, setting a tournament mark for the least number of points allowed.
The Rams (25-7) entered the tournament 10th in the nation in 3-pointers, averaging seven a game. The Huskies' man-to-man defense gave them few open looks. Midway through the second half, the Rams had just eight field goals. Colorado State finished with three 3-pointers, all in the first half.
"In my 20-year career, I don't think I've ever taken a beating like this," Rams coach Tom Collen said. "My hope is that it doesn't reflect badly on this team or the type of season they had."
The Rams won the Mountain West conference title to earn their eighth tournament berth.
"Now we know what to shoot for," Rams forward Heather Haanen said.
Jones opened the game with a 3-pointer to start a 13-3 run. The Rams were unable to hit consecutive field goals in the first half and trailed 44-26 at the break.
Cash's putback opened the second half as UConn ran off with an 11-2 spurt.
Sue Bird had 16 points for UConn. Freshman Diana Taurasi had seven points, six assists and six rebounds.
Heather Haneen, who shot a career-high six 3-pointers in the Rams' first-round win over Maryland, was held to three points.
Cash expects to be bombarded with ticket requests when she returns home.
"There's probably a lot of messages in my room waiting for
me," she said. "Everybody expected us to be there, but I couldn't
talk about the tickets or anything like that until we won both