HARTFORD, Conn. -- The loss to Stanford at Maples Pavilion was 779 days ago, but Wednesday night Kia Nurse recalled the feeling in the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's locker room like it was yesterday.
"Losing is a terrible feeling so you always remember it," Nurse said. "For me, personally, there were a lot of things I wanted to be better at. Everybody came out and said that and said there were things they needed to be better at. It was a wake-up call that it wasn't enough to put on the UConn jersey. You had to go out and perform and execute at a high level and do what's expected."
Nurse has started 88 of the Huskies' 89 games since, taking a reserve role for Senior Day 2015. UConn has not lost since.
Five players -- led by sophomore Napheesa Collier's 21 points -- scored in double figures Wednesday as the top-ranked Huskies moved to within one victory of matching their own NCAA record for longest winning streak with a 90-45 rout of East Carolina in American Athletic Conference action before 8,452 at the XL Center.
"We've had people that said and have insured that this is Connecticut basketball every day, we have to play a certain way," Nurse said. "Playing Connecticut basketball is what makes us different than anyone else. It's the way we practice, the way we approach games, the focus we have. That's all been a part of these last 89 wins."
UConn (14-0 overall, 2-0 AAC) will take on No. 22 South Florida back at the XL Center on Tuesday with the opportunity to tie its streak of 90, which started with a win over Georgia Tech in the 2008-09 season opener and ended with a loss at Stanford on Dec. 10, 2010.
It was a 47-game winning streak that the Cardinal snapped on Nov. 17, 2014, Nurse's second game in a UConn uniform. The Ontario, Canada native made her first start six days later against Creighton at Gampel Pavilion. Nurse and fellow junior Gabby Williams are the only Huskies to play in all 89 games of the current run.
This weekend before UConn faced UCF was the first time coach Geno Auriemma brought the streak up.
"I didn't feel it was necessary to talk about it, bring it up, address it, or anything," Auriemma said. "Let's move on and play and get the next one. In Florida, after the Maryland game, we talked about what it is they're trying to do and what it would mean to them. I said,' Don't feel like you have to do any of this for anyone but yourself even though I think you're at 14 in a row.' Then a couple of them reminded me they've been here for all 89."
If the Breanna Stewart/Moriah Jefferson/Morgan Tuck Huskies showed anything over their careers, it was that they were never afraid to lose.
That attitude has carried over to a new group of leaders.
"There have been games where it's been really close," Williams said. "But even if we were down that thought would never go through my minds. That's because is never went through Stewie's or Mo's or Morgan's mind. When you see them playing with that much confidence and poise, you play your tempo and you play your game and do the things you can do. We know it's a possibility, but we don't think about it. If you do, you think it into existence."
UConn erased any thoughts of an East Carolina upset quickly.
Williams (16), Katie Lou Samuelson (15), Nurse (14), and Natalie Butler (season high 12) followed Collier in the scoring column as the Huskies hit the 90-point plateau for the first time since their win over DePaul on Dec. 1.
For the fifth consecutive game, UConn did not ever trail. The Huskies have not been behind for the last 233:59 since being down 4-2 at Kansas State on Dec. 11.
"We came out super-aggressive and we do try to treat every game the same," Collier said. "That showed up tonight, the way we prepared and the way we came out."
Sainya Chong opened the scoring with a 3-pointer. Williams, Collier, Nurse, and Williams again followed with hoops. At 11-0, East Carolina coach Heather Macy sent five substitutes to the scorer's table to replace her starters.
"We had a great start and came out with a lot of energy," Nurse said. "We found each other, we did it on the defensive end and turned it in to offense."
The second five played with more effort but still could not keep up the with the Huskies.
After a free throw by East Carolina's Raven Johnson, Nurse scored and a Samuelson layup made it 15-1. Even after Johnson made the Pirates' first field goal, Nurse responded with a trey. It was 28-10 at the quarter.
"That first five, six, seven minutes of the game, that would have been amazing no matter who we were playing against," Auriemma said. "That was an incredible run."
East Carolina pulled within 15, but Collier and Samuelson had five points each in a 12-2 run to close the second quarter and make it 45-20 at the break.
The only excitement of the second half was whether the Huskies would reach the 82-point mark which would mean a Buffalo Wild Wings promotion would kick in. Butler took care of that with a layup with 2:22 to go.
Kristen Gaffney led the Pirates (9-6, 0-2) with 12 points.
UConn leads the series with East Carolina 7-0 with an average margin of victory of 47.3 points. The closest game was 41 in the 2016 AAC tournament quarterfinals.
The teams will play again at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, North Carolina, on Jan. 24.
The Huskies have never lost to USF (12-1, 1-0), which beat Tulane in New Orleans Wednesday. The Bulls are the only other ranked team in the AAC, though UConn will be their first top-25 opponent.
UConn has several days to think about it.
"We're not going to think about what number game it is," Collier said. "We're going to prepare the same way. It's another game that we want to win."