What happens when you mix the overall No. 1 seed with a huge underdog who wants to play at the fastest pace it can? A whole lot of a possessions -- and a record number of points.
The UConn women started the NCAA tournament Saturday with a 140-52 victory over No. 16 seed St. Francis (Pennsylvania) in a record-shattering game.
The game set marks for:
Most overall points in an NCAA tournament game: Previously, the record was held by Alabama in a 121-120 four-overtime victory against Duke in 1995's second round. The Huskies didn't just top that in regulation, they did it with 7:26 left in the game, on a 3-pointer by Kyla Irwin that made it 122-50. By that point, the UConn starters were on the bench.
Most points in a half, NCAA tournament and overall: The Huskies led 94-31 at halftime, breaking the tournament record of 66 set by Oklahoma in the second half against DePaul in 2014. It was also the NCAA Division I record for women for all games, breaking the 80 points of Long Beach State, set in 1987. The final tally of 140 fell short of Long Beach State's record of 149 for any game. Had the Huskies wanted to, they could have broken that, too.
Most assists in an NCAA tournament game: 38 by UConn, topping 37 by Stanford against Arkansas in 1990.
Most 3-point attempts in an NCAA tournament game: 57 by St. Francis, which came into the game averaging 33.2 attempts from behind the arc. The previous record was 52 by Alabama in the aforementioned four-overtime game in 1995.
The Red Flash, champions of the Northeastern Conference tournament, entered the NCAA tournament averaging 80.8 points per game, and they are accustomed to pushing the ball as much as possible. That might seem like suicide against UConn -- and it was. But it allowed St. Francis to do what it does. It just also allowed the Huskies to run wild.
Six Huskies had scored in double figures in the first half alone. The final tally: Azura Stevens had 26 points, Napheesa Collier added 25, Megan Walker 19, Katie Lou Samuelson 18, Gabby Williams 16 and Kia Nurse 15. The Huskies shot 64.8 percent for the game (59 of 91). Junior Samuelson (10 assists) and senior Nurse (10 rebounds) also had the first double-doubles of their careers.
The Red Flash scored just four points in the fourth quarter. The 88-point margin of victory was the second-largest in NCAA tournament history, behind the 89-point margin of Baylor over Texas Southern in 2017's first round.