UConn opens NCAA tournament with 88-point victory

UConn finishes with 140 in historic blowout (0:39)

UConn beats St. Francis PA 140-52 while breaking many records, including the most points in a women's NCAA tournament game. (0:39)

The Connecticut Huskies women's basketball program continues to rewrite the NCAA record books.

UConn opened the 2018 NCAA tournament with a 140-52 victory over 16th-seeded Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) on Saturday, breaking the record for most points in a women's tournament game.

Kyla Irwin made a 3-pointer with 7:26 remaining to give the Huskies a 122-50 lead to set the record. The previous mark of 121 was set by Alabama in a four-overtime victory against Duke in 1995.

UConn's total only is second in NCAA tournament history -- men or women -- to Loyola Marymount, whose men's team scored 149 points in 1990.

"That's one of the strangest things I've ever seen," UConn coach Geno Auriemma told ESPN's Kara Lawson after the game. "The pace of the game was unlike anything that you would expect in a tournament game like this. It's like watching one of those old Loyola Marymount games.

"So, once the pace was established, it just became, for us, 'How many layups can we get? And how many open shots can we get?'"

UConn (33-0) shot 65 percent from the floor, 73.6 percent in the first half, and outscored the No. 16 seed 96-10 in the paint.

There was more than one record set in the game.

UConn on Saturday also shattered Division I women's records for most points in a quarter (55) and half (94) of a game. The previous NCAA records were held by Central Michigan for a quarter (45 in 2015) and Long Beach State for a half (80 points in 1987).

"We pass the ball well enough and we're unselfish enough that when teams want to play like that, it's just not fair," Auriemma said. "... Yeah, that first half, it looked like nothing I've ever seen before."

Even Saint Francis got in on the action, setting the NCAA tournament mark for most 3-pointers attempted in a game with 57 (making just 10). Alabama attempted 52 3's during the 1995 tournament.

"There was only one chance that we would have had to come close in this game and that was going to be to shoot a million 3s and hope that they go in," Saint Francis coach Joe Haigh said. "So, we shot a million 3s and we didn't make them."

Haigh said his game plan was to outscore the Huskies, to run and gun, while leaving UConn's post players open for midrange jump shots. His team averaged nearly 81 points a game coming into Saturday. The strategy didn't work.

The Huskies' margin of victory (88 points) also was the second-largest difference in NCAA tournament history -- men's or women's. The Baylor Lady Bears beat Texas Southern by 89 points during last year's tournament.

"I don't think we were really aware," UConn's Katie Lou Samuelson said of the records. "We were aware of how quickly we were going up and down the court at that first media timeout. But we were just getting a lot of opportunities and taking advantage of them whenever we could."

UConn is looking for its 12th national title and fifth in six years. The Huskies haven't lost in the opening round since 1993.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.