No. 1 UConn women win 54th straight

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HARTFORD, CONN. >> There was a point earlier this season when Connecticut sophomore Gabby Williams was scared to make a mistake in practice and in games.

Her production dropped off, but Williams has been working hard to correct the issue. It seems she has righted herself.

Williams had a career-high 19 points, seven rebounds and three steals Wednesday night to lead No. 1 UConn to a 106-51 victory over Central Florida before 8,523 at the XL Center.

"I started in practice just pushing myself as hard as I could and it just transferred over (to the game)," Williams said. "I think I've learned now that even when I do make a mistake, I can still have a good game and I can still make a good play and just make up for it."

The Huskies (17-0, 7-0 AAC) have won 54 straight games, tying Louisiana Tech (1980-82) for the third-longest streak in the history of Division I women's basketball. UConn currently owns the top two winning streaks of 90 games (2008-11) and 70 (2001-03).

Starting forward Morgan Tuck, who is averaging 14.9 points and 5.9 rebounds, did not play due to soreness in her right knee. She is expected to be sidelined for approximately two weeks as a precautionary measure.

Williams, starting in place of Tuck, was 9 for 11 from the field and did not commit a turnover in 21 minutes.

"Gabby was great," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Gabby was as good as she's been in practice all week. She's just been really, really, really good. It's just hard to put your finger on why some people make that kind of an impact at times. And she right now is in a really, really good place."

Breanna Stewart led UConn with 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Natalie Butler added a season-high 20 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Napheesa Collier finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.

The Huskies shot 60 percent from the field, with six players scoring in double figures.

"Even in practice ... you notice when Morgan's gone because she does everything," Williams said. "And we needed something from everyone without her. I think we got that."

UConn outscored UCF 25-0 over a span of 9:06 in the first half en route to a 52-15 lead at halftime. The Knights missed 13 straight shots during the run and committed 19 turnovers in the half.

Overall, the Huskies scored 40 points off of 31 turnovers by UCF (4-14, 1-6).

Zykira Lewis led the Knights with 20 points and six rebounds.

"They're long at every position," UCF coach Joi Williams said. "We didn't do a good job of taking care of the basketball. I told our team that it is hard to pass over them, so you have to take care of the basketball. We did not do a good job of that. I think their length gives people problems."

TIP-INS

Central Florida: Joi Williams served as an assistant coach on the 2011 U.S. U-19 team that featured current UConn stars Stewart and Tuck. ... The Knights are 0-16 against ranked opponents in nine seasons under Williams.

UConn: The Huskies have won 94 straight games against unranked teams dating to a 57-56 loss to St. John's on Feb. 18, 2012. ... Stewart has scored at least 20 points in 54 games in her career. ... Moriah Jefferson moved into eighth place in team history in assists (543).

UP NEXT

UCF: The Knights host No. 15 South Florida Sunday.

UConn: The Huskies begin a two-game road trip at SMU Saturday.


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