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STORRS, Conn. (AP) - The way Monmouth coach Jenny Palmateer saw it, her had team little to lose playing against the No. 1 team in the country.
Playing UConn could give her players valuable experience and confidence that would help them in the future.
"I think we gained a lot of confidence from this game, which probably sounds pretty funny. Honestly, we took care of the ball better than we have in some of our other games," Palmateer said. "I think that with us being able to execute against a team like UConn sometimes, I think we gained so much confidence, really. I think, moving forward, every opponent that we face, we're going to go in more confident knowing that if we could do it against UConn, we should be able to do it against some other folks."
It didn't take long on Saturday for the Hawks to realize they were no match for the Huskies, who took control early and went on to a 100-46 win in the second day of the Hall of Fame tournament Saturday.
UConn scored the first 12 points and the Huskies raced out to a 20-5 lead, making eight of their first 10 shots, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.
"We wanted to first and foremost get some of our young player great experience. How many times can you say that you play the No. 1 team in the country?" Palmateer said. "I was really pleased that I got them in and that they did pretty well considering. I was pretty pleased with what we were trying to accomplish."
UConn coach Geno Auriemma was also pleased with the way his team shot the ball. The Huskies shot 58 percent and avoided a slow start for the second straight day. In the first round of the tournament Friday, UConn made just two of its first nine shots in a 96-38 win over Boston University.
Auriemma challenged his perimeter players to make shots against Monmouth. Breanna Stewart scored 24 points to lead five players in double figures for the Huskies (7-0).
Stewart added eight rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks. It was the third straight game that she scored at least 20 points and fourth time she has eclipsed that total. She is averaging 20 points in seven games.
"I think we really started strong," Stewart said. "We really wanted to make that our priority, come out and take care of business the first five minutes."
The Huskies (7-0) shot 62 percent in the first half and led 64-24 at the break. It was the most points in a half by UConn this season, surpassing the previous mark of 62 in the first half against Oregon on Nov. 20.
The Huskies opened the second half with a 21-0 run that stretched the lead to 61 points, the largest of the game. They made 10 of 18 from behind the arc for the game. Moriah Jefferson had 17 points for UConn. Kiah Stokes came off the bench to score 14 points and had a team-high 11 rebounds. Bria Hartley added 14 points.
Helena Kurt led Monmouth (0-5) with nine points. Jenny Horvatinovic added eight points and six rebounds for the Hawks.
The round-robin tournament continues Sunday in Hartford with Monmouth playing Boston University and UConn meeting St. Bonaventure.
"Well, you always get something out of everything," Auriemma said. "It's rarely that you walk away and say there was no point to it at all. But it does make it very difficult on the coaches, on the players, on the opposing teams, on everybody."
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