STORRS, Connecticut (Ticker) -- A win for top seed Connecticut was expected, but did anyone expect it to be this big? Connecticut tied an NCAA Tournament record with 65 first-half points and thoroughly annihilated helpless 16th seed Hampton, 116-45, in a first-round East Region contest.
The Huskies (31-1) raced to a 65-16 halftime lead and cruised to their 15th straight NCAA Tournament victory at Gampel Pavilion. They battle ninth-seeded Clemson on Sunday in the second round.
Connecticut tied the record for most first-half points set by Louisiana Tech, which set the mark against Tennessee Tech in 1982. Big East Conference Player of the Year Shea Ralph scored 18 points in 16 first-half minutes, helping the Huskies shoot 66 percent (25-of-38) from the floor.
The Huskies also tied the mark for most points in a regulation contest, previously set by Ohio State against Syracuse in 1988. The most points in an NCAA Tournament contest is held by Alabama, which needed four overtimes to upend Duke, 121-120, in 1995.
"There is not much we can talk about because these games have a tendency to be one-sided at times. It's unfortunate," Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said. "At this time of year, there will be no letdowns and no boredom. Losing is not an option." It is the third-largest margin of victory in NCAA Tournament annals. Tennessee routed North Carolina A&T, 111-37, in 1994 and Cheyney hammered Monmouth, 107-35, in 1983.
Ralph finished with 20 points to lead six players in double figures and Kennitra Johnson added 16 off the bench for Connecticut, which shot 71 percent (44-of-62) overall.
Svetlana Abrosimova poured in 14 points, sophomores Swin Cash and Asjha Jones added 12 apiece and Kelly Shumacher 10 to help the Huskies win their 12th straight overall.
LaShondra Dixon scored 15 points and Kiandra Poteat added 10 for Hampton (17-14), which was playing its first NCAA Tournament contest. The Pirates shot just 28 percent (18-of-64) from the floor and 55 percent from the line.
"I didn't have any surprises," Hampton coach Patricia Bibbs said. "It was a very hard game and I didn't fear anything and I know my kids didn't fear anything. They were physical and we were, too." .