HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — UConn coach Geno Auriemma reached 900 wins faster than any other college basketball coach, and has no plans to slow down.
Auriemma achieved the milestone when No. 2 UConn routed Cincinnati 96-36 on Tuesday night. It only took him 1,034 games to do it.
“I don’t want to stop setting the bar, and it’s up to everybody else to try to get there,” the Hall of Fame coach said. “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and we’re not going to stop.”
The victory ties him with former Texas coach Jody Conradt for fifth place on the all-time women’s list, 198 wins behind former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.
Freshman Gabby Williams led six players in double figures for the Huskies (21-1, 11-0 American Athletic Conference) with a career-high 18 points. She also had 14 rebounds.
The Huskies showed some nerves early, falling behind 5-0. But UConn scored the next 15 points, all on 3-pointers They closed the first half on a 22-0 run to put the game away.
“It’s kind of like giving back to him,” Williams said. “I know how hard he works, so for him to feel he’s getting something for me is a great feeling for me as well.”
Auriemma’s winning percentage of 87.04 percent in the best in the history of the women’s game. He also holds a record nine NCAA titles, and has appeared in the Final Four 15 times.
Cincinnati coach Jamelle Elliott, who played for Auriemma and was an assistant at UConn, said she hopes she’s learned something along the way about “demanding and not accepting anything less than perfection.”
“He never coached me and he doesn’t coach any of his players like girls,” she said. “He coaches us like players.”
The list of college women’s basketball coaches who have reached the 900-win plateau also includes North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell, Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer.
Jasmine Whitfield led Cincinnati (6-16, 3-8) with 14 points.
The Bearcats missed 18 straight shots and failed to score for the last 9:27 before intermission, trailing 47-15 at the break. The Bearcats have lost five of their last six games, which also included a 96-31 defeat at the hands of the Huskies just over a week ago in Ohio.
UConn cruised through the second half and the crowd began chanting “Geno! Geno!” as the buzzer sounded.
Former players appeared in a video message after the game, congratulating their coach. His current team wore shirts that said “Geno Never Stops.” They also had on paper glasses that had the number 900 on them.
“We got a long way to go this year and a lot of work left to do,” Auriemma said to the crowd after the game. “I know this is 900, but there are six games in March that will mean as much as the previous 900 and they are the ones I’ll try to reach.”
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 16 points and Breanna Stewart added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Huskies. Saniya Chong scored 11 points, while Kia Nurse and Morgan Tuck each had 10.
UConn has won 20 straight games since a November loss at Stanford, and has not lost a conference game since the founding of the AAC last season.
They have dominated the conference schedule this season, winning games by an average of more than 50 points.
The Huskies held Cincinnati to 14 field goals and 24.6 percent shooting
UConn faces a tougher test next Monday when it steps out of conference to host top-ranked South Carolina in Storrs.
Cincinnati: Elliott took part in 519 of Auriemma’s wins while a player and coach at UConn. She is 0-9 against her mentor since becoming a head coach.
UConn: Auriemma’s record improved to 100-6 since winning his 800th game and 300-18 since his 600th win. He is also 48-0 against teams coached by a former UConn player or assistant coach.
STEWIE: Stewart continued her climb up the school’s all-time scoring list, moving past Barbara Turner into 16th place. The junior’s 14 points give her 1,641 for her career.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats travel to Florida to face USF on Saturday.
UConn: The Huskies visit Memphis on Saturday, before their showdown on Monday with top-ranked South Carolina at Gampel Pavilion.
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