From there, the Huskies made the Flyers look like the team that opened this season with a loss to Quinnipiac.
Katie Lou Samuelson scored 29 points, making it back-to-back games with career bests, Napheesa Collier added 22, and Gabby Williams had a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds as No. 2 UConn rolled to a 98-65 win over Dayton before a crowd of 6,443 at Gampel Pavilion.
"Dayton is versatile and we knew they'd shoot a lot of threes," Samuelson said. "They attacked more, though, and we gave up layups. But once we started helping each other out more, it made our offense that much easier because we were able to get out in transition."
The Huskies (4-0) have won 79 straight with their fourth victory in a nine-day stretch to open the season and pushed their home winning streak to 51.
"We looked tired at times," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "You go to Florida, then go home for an easy game against Baylor, right? Then you're on the plane to Louisiana. The kids are tired. But if you said, 'Would you be happy at 4-0?' Yeah, I'm pretty happy. I feel good about what we've done these four games."
Tuesday night's affair was the first of a three-game deal between UConn and Dayton. They will go home-and-home during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
In the teams' last meeting in the NCAA Albany Regional final at the Times Union Center, Dayton, a No. 7 seed, took a stunning one-point lead at halftime. That marks the only time in UConn's current record runs of 24 straight NCAA tournament wins and 33 consecutive postseason wins -- and one of three times in the last 127 games -- that it has trailed at the break.
Three players that scored in double figures that March night -- Jenna Burdette, Kelley Austria, and Saicha Grant-Allen -- were in Dayton's starting lineup Tuesday night. And when sixth man Lauren Cannatelli drove for a three-point play with 4:05 gone, the Flyers (2-2) had a 10-5 lead.
"When we play a team like Dayton we know what we're going to get," Auriemma said. "Their style of play is very similar. At schools like Dayton, you're generally not going to get a Gabby Williams-type player or not a Crystal Dangerfield-type player a lot of times. But you know you're going to have to face kids that are tough and are good with the ball and will make a lot of outside shots, whether you guard them or not. We knew what to expect even though it's a new coach, even though it's a new roster. We got exactly what we thought we'd get."
But the Flyers didn't have 2015 WNBA draft picks Ally Malott and Andrea Hoover to keep up the pace.
Collier hit a 3-pointer and seven straight points by Samuelson put UConn in front. A Crystal Dangerfield hoop off a pass from Williams and another Samuelson trey capped the 15-0 run.
It was 22-13 at the quarter and 51-31 at halftime as Samuelson, Collier, and Williams combined for 45 points. Dayton played UConn even in the third quarter, but Kia Nurse hit two 3-pointers and Samuelson another to open the fourth. Natalie Butler followed with a hoop, and Saniya Chong's three-point play and a Samuelson free throw capped the 15-0 burst that turned it into a rout.
"If you could tell every team how to defend you it would be great, but each game is different," Auriemma said. "Each team tries to do something different. Dayton puts the pressure on you with their dribble. When they miss there's not a lot of people back on defense sometimes. What ended up happening was we got out in transition. We rebounded the ball better and got out in transition better and got some easy buckets that we didn't get against LSU and Baylor. And if you shoot the ball well, everything looks good."
Samuelson who topped the 28-point performance she had against LSU Sunday by one, could have been the first UConn player to reach 30 since Breanna Stewart did it in the 2015 NCAA Sweet 16 against Texas. But the sophomore guard had (for her) an off-night at the foul line, missing three of eight tries.
While most of her damage in Baton Rouge was done from 3-point land, 17 of her points against the Flyers came from plays inside the arc. The Huntington Beach, California, native also finished with six rebounds and six assists. And whenever she grabbed a rebound or made a pass, a good scoring opportunity seemed to follow.
"There's definitely a correlation," Samuelson said. "My biggest key today was focusing on staying in my stance defensively. When I focused on that, things flowed better for me. The way we were all playing so well together it made it easier to step up and hit those shots when my teammates made those passes. They made them for me when I made passes to them.
"I wanted to come out as hard as I could and do different things. I got a lot of threes against LSU and I'm not going to get that every game. I try to do more than stand on the 3-point line."
Another key for the Huskies was keeping Williams on the floor and out of foul trouble.
The junior forward committed at least two fouls in the first quarter in each of UConn's first three games. She had none in 26 minutes against Dayton. She matched her career high in points on 9-for-13 shooting in posting her 10th career double-double while setting a career high in assists
"I was just playing smarter and not getting caught up in the other team's game," Williams said. "That's what I've been doing the last few games. I was playing at their pace, how they wanted me to play. I played my game tonight and stayed out of trouble."
Nurse chipped in 10 points. Dangerfield had just two points but dished out nine assists, including a gorgeous bounce pass to Samuelson that led to a three-point play.
UConn had 27 assists attached to its 37 baskets and committed just nine turnovers. The Huskies had a 15-2 advantage in fast-break points.
"We made it a goal to get out in transition because we really haven't been running the ball the way we used to," Williams said. "We did that well today and it's encouraging."
Burdette and Cannatelli led Dayton with 15 points each. The Flyers were coming off consecutive wins over Wisconsin and Princeton after dropping their opener to Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac out of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
"I thought we did some things we wanted to do," first-year Dayton coach Shauna Green said. "We came out strong. We talked about coming out and having a good start and really attacking them from the tip. I thought we had a great first quarter and we had a really good third quarter. But against a team like that, your downs can't be as down as what we were. We just had some self-inflicted wounds with our transition and our fouling. We've got to learn from it. They're physical, they're tough and that's exactly how they win."
The Huskies will take two days off for the holiday and return to practice Friday. Their next game is next Tuesday against Chattanooga at the XL Center in Hartford. The Mocs are coached by Jim Foster, who gave Auriemma his first college coaching job nearly 40 years ago.