Walker, who went over the 1,000-point plateau in the game, was hit twice in the left eye and missed most of the third quarter when it swelled up. She was cleared to come back in the final quarter.
The junior is playing with toughness she didn’t show in previous seasons.
“Freshman year, I probably would have sat out,” Walker said. “Just seeing that growth now is good. I wanted to get back out there and contribute, even if I had just one eye.”
The Huskies have won each of their 111 regular-season AAC games since the formation of the conference in 2013 and each of the six conference tournaments.
Walker’s double-double was her seventh of the season and 13th of her career.
“Meg is becoming that reliable player that we need, that every team has to have,” Auriemma said. “She’s going to make big shots. She’s going to play hard, play good defense and get her double double. That’s a pretty good comfort level to have.
Cincinnati made 10 of its 19 shots in the second quarter, but shot 32% for the game and made just 3 of 15 shots in the fourth quarter. UConn went 4 of 16 in the second quarter, but shot 47.5% for the game and made 15 of its 27 shots in the second half.
UConn dominated the game in the paint, outrebouding the Bearcats 47-28 and outscoring them 34-22 in the lane.
HE SAID IT
Auriemma said Walker reminded him of Rocky with her willingness to play with her eye swollen shut.
“I looked at her eye, I thought she was going to say, `Cut me Mickey,’” he said.
Cincinnati has never beaten the Huskies, falling to 0-22 in the series that dates to when both teams were in the Big East.
UConn has won 202 consecutive games against unranked teams, a streak that dates to a loss at home on Feb. 18, 2012 to St. John’s.