Women’s Basketball: Huskies set for conference tilt against East Carolina

UConn women's basketball junior guard Saniya Chong takes a shot during the Huskies' game against Central Florida at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

Coming off a 96-38 midweek win over Tulane, the UConn women’s basketball team returns home Saturday to take on East Carolina in an American Athletic Conference matchup at Gampel Pavilion.

The Huskies (21-0, 11-0 the American) dismantled the Green Wave from the start, leading the entire game largely due to yet another outstanding performance from Breanna Stewart. The senior forward led all scorers with 20 points, making her first seven shots, while adding four rebounds and seven assists.

The 20 points from Stewart put her at 2,351 points for her career, passing Tina Charles for No. 2 on UConn’s all-time scoring list.

UConn’s big win over Tulane also marked the return of Morgan Tuck, who missed four-straight games since Jan. 20 due to right knee pain. Tuck returned to the starting lineup and picked up right where she left off, scoring 11 points with five rebounds in just 16 minutes.

Tuck’s return meant Gabby Williams would come off the bench for the Huskies, and despite the move, it was business as usual for Williams as she poured in 15 points and six rebounds. With Tuck still playing limited minutes, Williams will be relied upon to play critical minutes off the bench against East Carolina.

The Pirates (9-13, 3-7 the American) enter their matchup with Huskies on a three-game losing streak and one-point loss to Tulsa on Feb. 3. East Carolina was led by Jada Payne, who posted her 11th double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds. DeVaughn Gray and Khadidja Toure joined Payne in double figures with 12 points each.

ECU’s loss marked another solid performance for Payne, who is second in the American Athletic Conference in scoring with 19.7 points per game. Senior I’Tiana Taylor is 13th in the conference in scoring with 13.5 points per game, but scored just seven points in East Carolina’s loss to Tulsa. Taylor is also the leading offensive rebounder in the American, averaging 4.1 per game and third in defensive rebounds with 6.3.

After five games away from Gampel Pavilion, the Huskies will play just their third game this season at Gampel Pavilion after wrapping up a perfect 6-0 home record at the XL Center in Hartford. UConn’s first and only conference matchup this season at Gampel was a 104-49 win over Temple on Jan. 16.

Overall, UConn is 264-7 at Gampel since the 1993-94 season, and have won 89 of their last 91 games in Storrs.

Saturday’s game will tip off at 1 p.m. and can be seen on SNY.