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Taurasi provide offense, but defense sparks Huskies

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Opponents know the defending national
champion Connecticut Huskies have a lot of offensive looks and can
smother teams with their defense.

That worked both ways Sunday.

Diana Taurasi scored 15 points Sunday to help Connecticut (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 Associated Press) overcome a sluggish shooting performance and beat North Carolina
State 78-50 in the inaugural Jimmy V Women's Basketball Classic.

''Our defense set the tempo for the whole game,'' Taurasi said.
''We knew we didn't want to let (Kayla) Chones go wild inside, so
we double- and triple-teamed her, and that was successful.''

Barbara Turner came off the bench to score 13 points and Ashley
Battle added 11 for defending national champion Connecticut (2-0),
which won its 42nd consecutive game.

''I'm glad it wasn't one of those games where (Taurasi) gets 30
and everyone else just does their little scoring thing,''
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. ''They couldn't just try to
shut her down. This was a game where she hit her normal shots and
everyone else had a chance to play.''

Chones scored 18 for N.C. State (0-1) before fouling out with
5:37 remaining. She accounted for 11 of N.C. State's 16 points in
the first half. She was the only Wolfpack player in double digits.
Amy Simpson was next highest with seven points.

The result was the worst margin of defeat ever in Raleigh for
N.C. State. The 28-point margin exceeded the 91-64 beating suffered in 1979 against North Carolina.

''There were a lot of things that they did well and that we did
not,'' Chones said. ''We did not come out with our top game. We did
not play well on offense.''

Taurasi matched Chones' 11 to pace Connecticut to a 20-point
lead. Turner added eight first-half points.

''Our bench was great today,'' Taurasi said. ''As long as
everyone is contributing like that, we're heading in the right
direction.''

Connecticut made up for its 14-for-32 shooting (43.8 percent) in
the first half with a smothering defense that held N.C. State to
6-for-26 from the floor (23.1 percent).

The Huskies jumped ahead 48-22 on a Taurasi jumper with 15:40 to
play. After a Chones put-back with 15:11 to go, Connecticut held
N.C. State to one basket over a seven-minute span, pushing the lead
to 59-26 with 8:30 remaining.

''The offensive end is really hurting us right now,'' N.C. State
coach Kay Yow said.