STORRS, Conn. — Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 21 points and Kelly Faris added 18 points and 12 rebounds to help No. 3 Connecticut beat No. 4 Duke 79-49 on Monday night, handing the Blue Devils their first loss of the season.
Duke was the last unbeaten team in men’s or women’s Division I basketball. The last time the Blue Devils came to Connecticut two years ago, they were also unbeaten and the Huskies had one loss. UConn won that game 87-51.
For 20 minutes the Blue Devils hung tough with UConn. That quickly changed in the second half. UConn (17-1) held a two-point lead at halftime and jumped right out on Duke in the second half.
After trading baskets, the Huskies scored 20 of the next 25 points to take over. The Blue Devils (16-1) never recovered.
Duke, which hadn’t had a team come within single digits all season, was able to stay with UConn in the first half because of the Huskies’ sloppiness with the ball. UConn had 12 turnovers at the break.
Associate head coach Chris Dailey implored the crowd at halftime when she was interviewed to yell “No more turnovers.” The Huskies listened, finishing the game with only three more.
The Blue Devils also contained Stefanie Dolson in the first half.
Dolson, who was scoreless in the first 20 minutes, had six points during the decisive run before picking up her fourth foul with 16 minutes, 16 seconds left in the game. That call drew the ire of coach Geno Auriemma who stopped just short of picking up a technical foul.
It also fired up his team as UConn continued its spurt. After Elizabeth Williams’ basket on her own missed free throw, UConn scored the next 13 points. Mosqueda-Lewis had six points during the burst, including a jumper that made it 56-37 with 11:35 left.
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie tried to stop the run, calling two timeouts. It was to no avail.
Williams finally ended a 51/2-minute drought for Duke with a hook shot with 10:41 left in the game. That only brought Duke within 17.
It didn’t get any closer from there.
With the victory, UConn kept alive its streak of 20 years without consecutive home losses at Gampel Pavilion. This was the first game played on campus since UConn lost to Notre Dame by a point on Jan. 5.
Freshman Alexis Jones helped Duke stay in the game in the first half, scoring 12 points. She didn’t seem intimidated, hitting two 3-pointers and taking it right at the Huskies.
Jones matched her career high with 14 points, including 12 in the first half. Williams and Haley Peters added 11 points each.
Duke lost its sixth straight game to UConn and moved to 3-9 all-time against the Huskies.
UConn led 11-6 early before Jones hit consecutive 3-pointers. Neither team could get more than a four-point lead the rest of the half as the lead changed seven times.
Mosqueda-Lewis’ 3-pointer with 54 seconds left gave the Huskies a 31-27 advantage but Williams came right back with a three-point play of her own. UConn led 32-30 at halftime.
UConn shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, but was done in by 12 turnovers.
Dolson was honored before the game with a ball to commemorate her 1,000th career point that she scored against Syracuse.