HARTFORD, Conn. -- Katie Lou Samuelson took the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's first shot against Ohio State Monday night and one of the best 3-point shooters in the country threw up an airball from behind the arc.
"It was just an airball. I don't get too thrown off by that," Samuelson said. "It wasn't going to affect whether I keep shooting or not."
The Huskies' next shot was by Napheesa Collier, who is among the leaders nationally in field-goal percentage. She, too, found nothing but air on a 3-pointer.
"I can't explain it. I don't know what happened," Collier said. "It was horrible."
UConn's sensational sophomores, however, spent the rest of Monday night showing why they've been among the best players in the country the first six weeks of the season and strengthening their credentials as All-America candidates.
Collier recorded a double-double of 27 points and 11 rebounds while Samuelson added 26 points as the top-ranked Huskies pulled away in the third quarter to defeat the No. 12 Buckeyes 82-63 before a crowd of 9,379 at the XL Center.
"We talked at halftime about how the game was going to be won by what kind of offensive possessions we were going to have," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Once we got Pheesa going, and Lou was already going, it was fun to watch. It was really fun to watch."
Kia Nurse added 11 points for the Huskies while freshman Crystal Dangerfield made her second consecutive start in place of Saniya Chong (concussion-like symptoms) and had eight points and five assists. Gabby Williams did her usual stat-sheet stuffing with seven points, 12 rebounds, seven assists with four turnovers, six steals and two blocked shots.
UConn (10-0) pushed its winning streak to 85, five shy of matching its own NCAA record (2008-2010). It was also the Huskies' sixth victory of the season against a ranked opponent.
"I hope somebody gives me some happy pills for Christmas because I've got to start enjoying this team like everyone else seems to be enjoying it," Auriemma said. "I'm not exactly enamored with some of the stuff we do. It's a little hairy out there at times.
"But what we do, which I like, is we have these stretches that everything we do is really, really, really good, and we capitalize on maybe six or seven things in a row. That's just enough to get some separation from us and the other team. I don't think this team can put together stuff like we're going to get 90 in 30 minutes. We're not built like that this year. But we have stretches when we look like we've looked in the past. I'm just fixated on the other stretches sometimes."
All-American Kelsey Mitchell led Ohio State (9-4) with 23 points including 19 in the first half. Shayla Cooper added 15 points while Stephanie Mavunga posted a double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds.
But the Buckeyes' depth never came into play as UConn was able to stay out of foul trouble -- it didn't get called for its first foul until 2:05 into the second quarter -- and maintain the pace that it wanted to play at most of the way.
"We didn't execute well and they're the best team in college basketball at taking advantage of your mistakes," Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said.
The Buckeyes had only six assists attached to their 27 baskets and UConn turned 19 Ohio State turnovers into 28 points.
While Mitchell had two first-half surges to keep the Buckeyes close, she didn't have enough help over 40 minutes to give her team a shot at the end.
"I don't think there's ever one person who is going to beat us by themselves," Auriemma said. "I could be wrong, but I'll take my chances. We did a great job on their team as a whole and that's something we can hang our hats on."
UConn never trailed but couldn't deliver the knockout early.
A Samuelson basket put the Huskies ahead by 12 before Mitchell scored seven points in the last 1:50, including a 35-footer at the buzzer, to make it 19-16 after one quarter.
UConn again built a double-figure lead in the second quarter. Dangerfield and Samuelson hit consecutive 3-pointers and a Collier three-point play made it a 14-point bulge. But again Mitchell came alive with eight straight points in 68 seconds to cut the gap to 40-34 at halftime.
"Coach kept telling us that we'd get ahead but let them back in and we can't afford to do that," Collier said. "We don't want to give the other teams hope. We want to extend the lead and that's what we did in the third quarter."
Collier opened the second half with a trey and Samuelson nailed her first shot of the period two possessions later.
The sophomores combined for 25 points -- Collier 15, Samuelson 10 -- on 9-for-14 shooting from the floor. A Collier offensive rebound basket made it 70-48 going to the fourth quarter.
Ohio State got no closer than 16 the rest of the way as it fell to 0-4 against UConn all time.
"They're averaging 90 points and they had 34 at halftime," Auriemma said. "I thought that if we could keep them at 34 in the second half we'd be in great shape. They got 29."
"We showed tonight that when we put our minds to it we can lock down teams on defense," Samuelson added. "We've played against a lot of different styles so far and we want to be prepared for what comes up next, whatever we'll be facing in the future."
UConn has also won 16 straight against Big Ten opponents dating back to a loss to Michigan State here on Dec. 29, 2004. The Huskies continue the Big Ten portion of their schedule with a trip to Nebraska Wednesday followed by a game at No. 4 Maryland on Dec. 29 following a Christmas break.