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No. 1 UConn crushes Bulls in third straight AAC championship

USF guard Laia Flores set the Bulls' single-season assist record when she reached 194 on the season Monday night in a loss to UConn. 
ORACLE FILE PHOTO/JACKIE BENITEZ

UConn continued its complete dominance over the AAC on Monday night when it wrapped up its fourth straight conference tournament title with a wire-to-wire 100-44 beatdown of USF.

The Huskies pushed their winning streak to 107 games and kept its perfection against AAC opponents intact thanks to a near-perfect night from UConn guard Katie Lou Samuelson. 

Led by Samuelson’s 40 points on 10-of-10 shooting on 3-point attempts, No. 1 UConn led 30-11 after the first quarter, and then 62-23 at halftime. 

The eventual 56-point victory was reminiscent of the Bulls’ first trip up to Connecticut this season when USF suffered its worst loss ever — a demoralizing 102-37 defeat. 

“The first time we played Connecticut up there, a lot of (players) on our team had never experienced that,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “I told our team, ‘Let’s not let this game take away the season that this team has had.’ We replaced four starters off a very good basketball team last year. We’re in the NCAA tournament. We’re still going to be playing and a lot of teams are not. We’re looking forward to that, but we have to put this game in the rear-view mirror.”

USF guard Laia Flores set the school’s single-season assist record in the defeat, as her four assists Monday pushed her past former USF guard Anedra Gillmore’s record of 190 assists that she set in the 2004-05 season.

Though USF was denied a conference championship for the third straight year by the Huskies, the Bulls will have another shot to achieve their postseason goals when the NCAA Tournament begins March 17.

Though USF has not formally been selected as a participant in this year’s Tournament just yet, the Bulls will discover their postseason seeding tonight when the NCAA Selection Show airs at 7. 

“Our team is young and I think a lot of people doubted us,” USF junior forward Maria Jespersen said. “We showed everybody that we’re better than probably a lot of people thought we would be. Our goal is always to play in the NCAA tournament and win a conference title. You have to give a lot of credit to UConn, they’re really good.”