HARTFORD, Conn. – UC Davis coach Jennifer Gross is hoping to take her players into Manhattan during their two-game East Coast trip to see the tree at Rockefeller Center.
The Aggies will need something positive after falling to top ranked UConn 97-37 on Thursday night.
Bria Hartley scored 25 points and Breanna Stewart added 19 points, 13 rebounds and five assists for the Huskies (10-0), who were playing with just six scholarship players because of injuries.
UConn used an early 22-0 run to break this game open and led by 43 points at halftime.
"You go into a game like this to see how you measure up against the best," said Gross. I think we learned that we have some work to do. What I was pleased with was that we stepped on the floor and we weren't afraid."
UC Davis visits Hofstra on Saturday.
"The team would love to get into Times Square and see the Christmas tree and do a little shopping on Fifth Avenue," Gross said. "I'm a very big believer in the experience. We talk a lot about mentality and getting ready to play on Saturday is going to be mental more than anything, so I think we can go have some fun and still be ready to compete."
Hartley outscored UC Davis 20-17 by herself in the first half. The senior guard was 8 of 9 from the floor during the game, including all five she attempted from 3-point range.
She became the 19th player at UConn to reach 1,500 points in her career.
"It means a lot," Hartley said. "I try my best to contribute to this team and I've always been kind of a natural scorer, so I'm going to go out there and score for my teammates."
Sydnee Fipps scored 13 points and Kelsey Harris had 12 to lead UC Davis (2-5).
The Aggies were able to stay in the game for a while, with the help of a clock malfunction that kept both teams off the court for about 5 minutes in the first half. After that, it was all UConn.
The Huskies kept the Aggies from scoring for almost 6 minutes, turning a 13-7 lead into a 35-7 advantage on a 3-pointer from Saniya Chong.
Idit Oryon had a 3-point attempt blocked by Breanna Stewart on the other end, but Fipps grabbed the ball and put it back up and in to end that scoring streak. Fipps had nine of the Aggies' 17 first-half points, but also picked up three fouls.
"It's tough to score in the paint against a team like UConn," Gross said. "(Fipps) found ways to split into gaps and protected the ball really well and used different sides of the basket to score. I was really impressed with her early. I was disappointed when she got into foul trouble."
Brianna Banks' free throw gave the Huskies their first 40-point lead, 55-15, and UConn led 60-17 at halftime. Banks had eight points, the only one of UConn's scholarship players who didn't reach double figures.
Stefanie Dolson had 18 points, and Moriah Jefferson had 11 points and nine assists. Chong finished with 10 points.
The Huskies opened the second half on a 9-0 run.
Connecticut center Kiah Stokes sat out the game as a precaution after rolling an ankle in practice on Wednesday. She had been averaging 8.2 points and 9 rebounds this season. UConn has played the last eight games without Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, a preseason All-American, and Morgan Tuck, another key front-court player.
The Aggies have never beaten a Top-25 opponent 12 tries. They lost to No. 6 Stanford in November, 66-48. This was their first meeting with UConn.