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50 straight for UConn as Huskies liftoff in Houston

#1 ranked Huskies still lead dogs with a 76-37 win over unranked Houston. Despite a quick start and stellar showing from senior forward Tyler Gilbert, Cougars can't stay with Huskies.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston, TX -- The Houston Cougars' Tyler Gilbert had 6 of the team's ten 10 points with 4:44 left in the first quarter, including two late shot clock baskets. She led all scorers in the game for the Cougars with 16, her points alone almost as many as the combined total points of her teammates.

"They played together. They played really well together. They looked like a real cohesive unit out there. I was happy for them, I really was," UConn head coach Geno Auriemma.

A first quarter battle ended with a one-point lead, 15-14, in favor of Houston. UConn's first four points came from free throws, the first field goal not being scored until 5:31 was left to play in the first.

"I said ‘Hey we're up!'," said Cougars head coach Ronald Hughey. "With a young team and seniors who didn't get to play a lot as freshmen and sophomores, you have to celebrate all of the small moments, so that momentum could carry us into the next quarter."

The Huskies did not take their first lead of the game until the start of the second quarter, but ultimately the hometown Cougars fell to 0-4 in the series versus American Conference opponent and #1 ranked UConn Huskies.

The Cougars missed having sophomore guard Chyanne Butler on the floor. She sat most of the game due to early foul trouble. She had two fouls with 7:12 left in the first and picked up her third with 6:59 left in the second.

Houston's shooting started 6 of 10 and after that point went to 2 of 18. Multiple shot clock violations were also detrimental to the Cougars, allowing UConn to stretch their lead to 11. The score at the half was 31-20, Huskies.

The second half started much like the first with the Cougars scoring four points and the Huskies getting their first points from free throws. By the end of the 3rd though, the Huskies had continued the quiet annihilation of their opponent with a score of 54-30.

Five Huskies scored in double figures including point guard Moriah Jefferson, who scored 13 after missing Wednesday's game versus Tulsa due to a pulled hamstring.

"I think it was good for us to have that test like we did," Jefferson said. "We knew they were going to come out hard and be really aggressive. We knew that if they hit us first, it was going to be a good game like it was."

The largest lead of the game came at 42 with 2:48 left in the 4th. The Cougars were held to their lowest point total since November 19, 2015, where their previous lowest total was 41 against Long Beach State.

Huskies are still a perfect 13-0 and 3-0 in the American Athletic Conference -- and this is their 50th consecutive win. This is the fifth straight loss for Houston falling to 1-5 at home and 0-3 in conference play.

UConn continues their road trip against ranked opponent USF at 5 p.m. on January 10th. Houston will stay at home to play SMU at 2 p.m. also on January 10th.