Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma isn't altogether certain what exactly he's got in this year Huskies squad, but he has a much better idea after Sunday.
"When you're on the road early in the season with a lot of young players, you never know what it's going to be like early in a game," Auriemma said.
His verdict following No. 2 UConn's 81-50 hammering of No. 16 Texas A&M?
"In the first half, we looked really good at times, and really shaky at times," he said of his youngsters shaking the jitters. "When we came out in the second half, we had our tempo going and we played the way we like to play."
Stefanie Dolson paved the way with 24 points on 11 of 15 shooting. The Huskies (2-0) outscored the Aggies (0-3) in the paint 42-12, as A&M had no answer for the 6-foot-5 Dolson, a preseason All-Big East first team selection, and forwards Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (16 points) and Breanna Stewart (11 points) down low.
"If we throw it down to Stefanie, something good is going to happen," Auriemma said. "If we keep doing that, it's going to put other (teams') big guys under a lot of pressure."
A&M junior center Kelsey Bone, a preseason All-SEC first team selection, countered Dolson's effort with eight points, three rebounds and zero blocks. UConn outrebounded A&M 40-28.
"Dolson just put on a clinic over my post players," A&M coach Gary Blair said.
Freshman Courtney Walker led A&M with 20 points, the only Aggie to score in double figures. The Huskies continually worked the ball around the perimeter and inside, in tallying 27 assists to the Aggies' 14.
"When points are coming from a lot of spots on the floor, we're a hard team to play against," Auriemma said. "We're a really good outside shooting team. The danger of that is you come down the floor and pass the ball once and start jacking up jump shots. We really made a concentrated effort to get the ball in the lane."
Added Dolson, "Teams are going make sure they take away our jump shots, which spreads the floor and opens up the paint. It makes it a lot easier for me and my job down there."
UConn, with six underclassmen among its 11 players, is likely to slide into the top ranking after defending national champion Baylor fell to No. 4 Stanford 71-69 in the first game of the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Hawaii on Friday.
"That's something we don't even look at," said UConn guard Kelly Faris, who tallied a game-high six assists, of the Huskies likely becoming No. 1. "All of that stuff is on paper. The stuff that really matters is what comes out on the court."
While A&M actually had fewer turnovers (17-15), the Huskies outscored the Aggies 14-5 in points off of turnovers. The Aggies shot a season-low 30 percent (18 of 60), while UConn countered with 56.1 percent (32 of 57) from the field.
"We have a lot of depth this year compared to last year," Faris said. "We have points coming from every direction. The more we work on our passing the better it's going to be, and that's one of the strongest parts of our game."
Huskies guard Bria Hartley missed her second consecutive game to start the season with a sprained ankle.
The youthful Aggies, the 2011 national champions, have lost to three top 10 programs this season in Louisville, Penn State and now UConn. A&M has seven freshmen on its 15-player roster.
"UConn was in midseason form," Blair said. "My freshmen have to learn on the fly. That's what this schedule is all about, and that's what this year is all about. Eventually we're going to have to become a smarter basketball team. But by far this was the best team of three we've played."
The Huskies defeated the Aggies by the nearly identical score of 81-51 in last year's Jimmy V Classic in the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.