UConn senior Kelly Faris' strong play doesn't always show up on the stat sheet. It was hard to miss her Monday night.
Faris had eight points, eight steals, seven rebounds and seven assists in No. 2 Connecticut's 63-48 victory over No. 9 Maryland in the Jimmy V Classic.
"I said it 100 times, I'm always amazed that none of the Big East coaches vote her for anything," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "They are stuck with the guys they have and we have the record we have because of her. Someone can dominate a game and take six shots. Kelly completely dominated the game. She has an impact that goes beyond the stat sheet. When you look at the stat sheet there's a whole bunch of stuff there, her impact is greater than that."
Stefanie Dolson scored 14 points and Breanna Stewart added 13 to lead the Huskies (7-0).
"She is by far our toughest player," Dolson said of Faris. "She does everything on the floor. Even if she doesn't get credit for a steal she most likely tipped the ball to make the play."
Trailing by 13 at halftime, Maryland whittled its deficit down to seven before UConn scored eight straight points, including a 3-pointer by Brianna Banks and a three-point play by Bria Hartley. Kiah Stokes capped the run with a lay-in midway through the second half. Faris had a hand in all eight points during the run with an assist, steal and rebound.
"Faris makes play after play," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "She's so tough and physical.
"That was a tough sequence. Banks was spectacular. That's what Connecticut does. They give you that knockout punch and you see teams never recover. I love the fact we were able to withstand a lot of those runs and were able to keep competing."
Maryland, which had a season-high 26 turnovers, couldn't get within single digits the rest of the way.
Tianna Hawkins scored 14 points and freshman Chloe Pavlech added a season-high 10 to lead the Terrapins (4-2), who have come the closest to UConn this season. No team had been within 30 points before Monday.
The Terrapins were playing without guards Laurin Mincy and Brene Moseley. Both suffered ACL injuries this season. Mincy tore the ACL in her right knee early in the second half of Maryland's win over Nebraska last Wednesday. Moseley injured her left knee on Oct. 21. Moseley was the third ACL injury for the Terps this season. Senior center Essence Townsend tore hers in an exhibition game in early October.
Without the guards, Maryland couldn't take care of the basketball. The Terps came into the game averaging only 16 turnovers a contest.
"That was one of the things I told our team in the locker room," Frese said. "I was most disappointed in how much we turned the ball over. A lot came in our press break."
UConn couldn't take advantage early of the miscues. Leading 17-8, Maryland scored seven straight points to make it a two-point game. Stewart finally ended a 5½-minute drought scoring seven straight points during a 10-0 run by the Huskies. She started it with a 3-pointer and connected on a falling down layup, following up her own miss. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis capped the burst with a 3-pointer that made it 27-15. The Huskies led 33-20 at halftime.
Mosqueda-Lewis didn't return for the second half after bruising a left quad. She missed the Huskies' previous game against Colgate after suffering a concussion against Purdue on Nov. 24.
Auriemma said his sophomore guard is "doubtful" for Thursday's game against No. 10 Penn State.
Monday's game had special meaning for Frese, whose 4-year-old son Tyler continues to battle leukemia.
"It means a lot," Frese said. "Obviously, there was no question when we got the invite that we knew we wanted to play in it. And, obviously, for me personally with my son, Tyler, going through leukemia and with his diagnosis and his treatment I think it just helps us to be able to with a national audience and on TV to bring even more awareness to all the people out there that are battling cancer. And, obviously, our family is one that's directly impacted, but the fact that we can play a game and bring exposure is really important and we're just really fortunate to be a part of it."
The teams will play again in the Jimmy V Classic next season at Maryland. This was the first meeting between the programs. UConn continued its domination of ACC opponents, winning its 20th straight over ACC teams, winning by an average of 28.0 points.
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