HARTFORD, Conn. -- It started in late August with preseason workouts and the first official practice was Oct. 15. Now with two exhibition games in the books, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team can look forward to the regular season.
Reigning national Player of the Year Breanna Stewart had 27 points to pace five players in double figures as the top-ranked Huskies rolled past Division II Post University from nearby Waterbury 117-44 Sunday before a crowd of 7,216 at the XL Center.
"I'm glad it's over but we needed it, especially the freshmen because they haven't been in a situation like this," UConn center Kiah Stokes said. "Allowing them to play at Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center now will help get the nerves out for when we play here during the regular season and they also get to understand what it's like to play a game at this level."
Morgan Tuck came off the bench to add 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Huskies. Stokes also had a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds along with seven blocked shots. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 15 points and reserve Courtney Ekmark contributed 13.
UConn, which defeated West Chester 115-26 in its first exhibition a week ago, shot 64.0 percent from the floor against Post and out-rebounded the much-shorter Eagles 59-22.
"I came back Oct. 6 and finished the preseason with the team and you could tell that they'd grown since school started," said Stewart, who was with Team USA for a month and won a gold medal at the FIBA world championships. "Once we started practice, the first day when the new people didn't know what was going to happen until now ... Now we go into practice expecting to get better and at the same time going as hard as we can because we know that needs to be instilled in us so we can take it to games."
The Huskies will take a 46-game winning streak into the regular season opener at UC Davis Friday at 10 p.m. The second game of the trip is a visit to No. 6 Stanford and Maples Pavilion on Nov. 17.
It's the first time UConn has opened the season on the road in 15 years.
"It tests the upperclassmen because we've been here before and we have to show the young kids how to do it," Stokes said. "It's a great test for us. We're going to the other side of the country and we're going to have to play our game."
UConn didn't trail Sunday. Two baskets by Stewart sandwiched around one by Stokes got it started and a Mosqueda-Lewis 3-pointer made it 9-0 with 1:17 gone.
After Kristine Ripson hit a 15-footer for Post, the Huskies went on a 15-0 run with Stewart netting seven, Mosqueda-Lewis five, and Stokes three. It was 68-27 at halftime. The Eagles got no closer and Mosqueda-Lewis got the Huskies into triple figures with 10:20 left.
"I think everybody on the team is anxious to get started and start playing games for real," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "It will be here soon enough. Friday will be here before we know it. We got through two exhibitions and both of them were interesting to say the least."
One interesting thing was that freshman Gabby Williams didn't get onto the floor until 9:14 remained. The reason? She brought two right sneakers to the XL Center.
That didn't go over well with the coach.
"I wasn't going to play her at all, but I felt bad for her so I put her in," Auriemma said. "I don't know how it is in track but in basketball you have to have a right sneaker and a left sneaker. Maybe next time she'll get it right."
Jacquelynne Pugh led Post with 14 points while Ripson finished with 13.
Let the games begin.
"We're starting to come together," Stokes said. "We still have a lot of things to work on as a team but I think we're ready to start the season."