HARTFORD, Conn. -- It had not happened in six weeks.
When Chyanne Butler scored on a drive to give Houston a two-point lead with 3:43 gone off the clock Saturday, it marked the first time the University of Connecticut women's basketball team had trailed since Dec. 11 at Kansas State, a stretch of 439:42.
How did the Huskies respond?
UConn held Houston without a point for the next 9:30 while scoring 21 of its own. And the rout was on.
Gabby Williams had 19 points, 10 rebounds and five assists as the top-ranked Huskies won their 95th straight game, 91-42, over the Cougars in American Athletic Conference action before a season-high crowd of 12,316 at the XL Center.
"We kind of knew that it came down to us just being more involved," UConn guard Katie Lou Samuelson said of the slow start. "We were kind of sluggish and nonchalant early and we can't have that at all. Once it gets into you, it stays with you and you make it into a habit. So we have to focus on making every single practice, every single game, something productive."
Kia Nurse added 16 points, eight assists (with no turnovers) and four steals for UConn (20-0 overall, 8-0 AAC), which also secured its 24th consecutive 20-win season. In 21 of the previous 23 years, the Huskies also reached 30 wins. Samuelson also had 16 points while Napheesa Collier had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four assists and five steals. Natalie Butler chipped in 10 points off the bench.
Freshman Jasmyne Harris had 14 points for the Cougars (8-13, 1-7 AAC).
Houston actually led UConn after one quarter the last time the teams met at Hofheinz Pavilion a year ago. But after Butler put the Cougars up 6-4 Saturday, the Huskies and their defense took over.
"Sometimes it's a reminder that it's surprising that in our program it doesn't happen more often," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "That's probably a daily occurrence for some programs. They expect it, it happens, and they have to deal with it. That it happens so infrequently with us, what are you going to do about it? What? I stubbed my toe and I'm going to see a surgeon and get my toe amputated. Not really. It's one of those things."
Collier erased the deficit 1:08 later and Nurse and Williams followed with two free throws each. A basket by Williams and five points by Nurse made it 17-6 after one quarter.
"Once again we got things in transition to get us going," Williams said. "But we have to come out strong from the jump."
The run continued on hoops by Williams and Saniya Chong and two baskets by Butler for a 25-6 lead, before Harris nailed a 3-pointer for the Cougars.
Then after a Harris steal and layup, UConn used a 12-2 run to open it up even more, as Samuelson scored her first eight points of the game and Williams four. A Samuelson three-point play made it 43-18 at halftime.
"We just didn't get the ball movement and people movement we normally get or want to get," Auriemma said. "That's a big reason why it looked the way it looked. It was not pretty at all."
Houston got the first hoop of the third quarter, but that was as close as it would get as its losing streak reached seven games.
Saturday's game was the only meeting between UConn and Houston in the regular season.
Williams was coming off her first triple-double at East Carolina last Tuesday. She played the whole first three quarters before getting the fourth quarter off. The junior forward, though, did not register a steal or a blocked shot for the first time since she played just six minutes in the 2016 NCAA tournament Bridgeport Regional final against Texas.
"Sometimes we throw the ball to Gabby and we stand there and watch her play," Auriemma said. "Because she's able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and all the other stuff she does, we get fascinated by watching and everyone just stands there. The first quarter seemed to be Gabby against them. That's not what we normally do.
"It's another 19, 10, 5. But she had no steals so what's the point in her showing up," he added with a smile.
Freshman Crystal Dangerfield was in uniform and went through pregame warmups with her teammates, but missed her fifth straight game with a stress reaction of her left foot. She is expected to be available when the Huskies take on Temple Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia (SNY, 7 p.m.).
"There will be a limit on her minutes, and that's where it is right now," Auriemma said.
UConn and Temple are the only unbeaten teams left in league play. The Owls (16-3, 6-0 AAC) will take a 12-game winning streak into their home game against No. 23 South Florida on Sunday. They are coached by former UConn assistant (1994-2008) Tonya Cardoza. Former UConn player (2002-06) Willnett Crockett is an assistant on Cardoza's staff.