Seven months is a long time to wait.

A dream season for Connecticut women’s basketball and a 111-game winning streak came to a stunning end in the Final Four in April, as an overtime buzzer-beater from Mississippi State in a semifinal ended the Huskies’ hopes of a fifth straight national title.

At the site of the 2018 Final Four, top-ranked UConn’s quest for a fifth title in six seasons got off to a promising start with a 78-53 win over No. 10 Stanford on Sunday at Nationwide Arena.

The first game in the Countdown to Columbus Showcase was decided early in the first quarter, ensuring the Huskies would not take back-to-back losses for the first time since the 1992-93 season.

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“That would have counted, even though it’s two separate years?” UConn coach Geno Auriemma asked. “I wasn’t counting it anyway. I was starting over. I had my mind set up; if we lost I had an excuse for it.”

Sophomore guard Chrystal Dangerfield made two three-pointers and a layup during a 14-0 run that turned a 4-4 tie into an 18-4 UConn lead in a 3:10 span in the first quarter. The Huskies (1-0) led by 10 points or more for 35 minutes and by 20 points or more for more than 27 minutes.

A young Stanford team leaves Columbus 0-2. The Cardinal also fell 85-64 to No. 5 Ohio State on Friday but won’t face another ranked opponent until at least Nov. 25.

Dangerfield led the Huskies with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting. She missed only one of her seven three-point attempts. Junior Katie Lou Samuelson scored 21 points and senior forward Gabby Williams added 11 points.

Auriemma was pleased with his team’s first-half defense but felt the Huskies looked tired in the second half.

“We’re used to being in those situations and at times it felt pretty slow, but that’s on us knowing we have to push through it,” Samuelson said. “That first group, we didn’t start the second half like we should have.”

Sophomore guard DiJonai Carrington scored 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting and was the only Stanford player in double figures.

“This particular time I think our biggest problems were our turnovers and lack of execution on offense. I think that will come,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We worked hard defensively and Dangerfield had a great game. We didn’t guard her as well as we needed to.”

Both teams won’t play again until Friday. Stanford opens its home schedule against UC Riverside and UConn hosts No. 20 California.