Led by freshman forward Katie Lou Samuelson’s 21 points in 24 minutes, Connecticut, the top ranked team in the AP Top 25 poll, routed Temple (11-5, 5-2 American Athletic Conference) 104-49 Saturday night at Webster Bank Arena.
“They outworked us, and they outplayed us,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “It didn’t matter who we had on the floor. The outcome would have been the same.”
Temple and UConn, three-time defending national champions, stood tied at 5 points each with back-to-back scores by sophomore guard Donnaizha Fountain and a 3-pointer by senior guard Erica Covile in the right corner.
Following those two plays, Temple had three-straight turnovers and failed to score a bucket on 26 consecutive possessions, prompting UConn to go on a 24-0 run.
The Owls were scoreless until a jumper by graduate center Ugo Nwaigwe at the 1:04 mark in the first period.
Overwhelmed by the size and speed of the Huskies, the Owls turned the ball over 14 times and shot 9-for-33 from the floor in the first two quarters.
“I felt like we needed more offense on the floor,” Cardoza said. “They’re superior to do all the little things and take advantage of you quickly.”
Connecticut led 57-21 at the end of the first half, putting together its best performance in the first 20 minutes this season.
Samuelson and senior forward Breanna Stewart scored a combined 35 points in the first half. Stewart scored 19 of her 22 points in the first half.
The Huskies substituted their bench for a majority of the second half, outscoring the Owls 25-14 in the third quarter.
UConn scored 30 points off Temple’s 20 turnovers and had 36 bench points. The Huskies also outscored Temple 46-22 in points in the paint.
“They dominate everybody that they play,” Cardoza said. “It had nothing to do with our size.”
The Huskies held Temple to 29.4 percent shooting, while the Huskies shot 54.7 percent from the field. Sophomore guard Alliya Butts led Temple with 12 points and six assists.
“We can just do better than this,” Cardoza said. “We need to improve and do everything in our power to be ready for our game against [the University of Pennsylvania .”
Mark McCormick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MarkJMcCormick.