TAMPA (AP) — Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored a career-high 32 points and Stefanie Dolson added 25 as No. 3 Connecticut tuned up for a Big East rematch with second-ranked Notre Dame by racing past South Florida 85-51 on Saturday.
Mosqueda-Lewis paced the Huskies (27-2, 14-1) by making 11 of 23 shots, including six 3-pointers. Dolson matched her career-best for points by going 8 for 11 from the field, sinking all nine of her free throws and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Next up for UConn is Monday night’s nationally televised showdown for a possible share of the conference regular-season title at Notre Dame, which defeated the Huskies 73-72 on the road two months The victory Saturday was the 15th in 16 games since that loss to the Irish, with the lone stumble during the stretch a six-point setback against No. 1 Baylor.
Mosqueda-Lewis and Dolson combined for 42 points in the opening half to help the Huskies to a 50-31 advantage at the break. South Florida (19-9, 8-7) missed 10 of its first 11 shots before whittling away most of a double-digit deficit that gave Bulls fans inside the Sun Dome hope for a competitive game.
But with Dolson dominating inside and Mosqueda-Lewis making her presence felt from behind the 3-point line, UConn rebuilt the lead. The Huskies closed the first half with a 14-4 burst featuring a pair of open 3’s by Mosqueda-Lewis and four free throws from Dolson.
Inga Orekhova led cold-shooting USF with 13 points. Andrea Smith and Alisia Jenkins each scored 10.
The loss capped a disappointing week for the Bulls, who had hoped they would be rewarded with a spot in the Top 25 after beating a pair of ranked conference opponents — Louisville and Syracuse — within a four-day span.
A loss at Rutgers on Tuesday stopped a three-game winning streak. The loss to UConn eliminates any chance of the Bulls cracking the Top 25 for the first time.
The closest USF got in the second half was 17, when it scored first coming out of the break. The Bulls wound up shooting 25.4 percent from the field, including 4 of 22 from behind the 3-point line.
UConn’s Bria Hartley missed all 11 of her shots from the field _ six of them 3-point attempts _ and finishing with three points.
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