HARTFORD — Stefanie Dolson scored a career-high 25 points to lead No. 3 Connecticut to an 87-62 win over Syracuse and its star center Kayla Alexander Saturday, handing the upstart Orange just their second loss of the season.
Dolson, who hit 9 of her 17 shots, also became the 36th player in UConn history to reach 1,000 points for her career.
‘‘When you go out there and you know you have a great post to go against . . . it’s something you take personal,’’ Dolson said.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis also had 25 points and freshman Breanna Stewart, who grew up in Syracuse, added 20 for the Huskies (16-1, 4-1 Big East).
Carmen Tyson-Thomas had 12 points to lead Syracuse (15-2, 3-1) and freshman Brianna Butler added 11. But Alexander, who was in foul trouble for most of the game, was held to just 4 points and played just 11 minutes.
‘‘If she’s not on the floor we’re just an OK team,’’ said Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman. ‘‘When you have your best player playing 11 minutes and takes five shots, it’s tough to win that way.’’
UConn will host No. 4 Duke on Monday, the eighth ranked team the Huskies have faced this season. The Blue Devils are the last unbeaten team in Division 1 basketball.
Alexander, who had been averaging almost 20 points a game, was forced to sit after picking up her second personal foul less than five minutes into this one. With the 6-foot-4-inch senior on the bench, UConn quickly expanded an 8-4 lead to 14-4. Dolson did much of that damage, eclipsing the 1,000-point plateau with her 8th and 9th points, a layup that gave UConn an 18-7 lead.
Tyson-Thomas kept Syracuse close. She hit two consecutive jumpers to pull the Orange to within 3 at 24-21.
But Tyson-Thomas also got into foul trouble. The Orange were within 28-27 when she picked up her third foul. She took a seat next to Alexander and UConn took advantage. The Huskies closed the half on a 13-2 run and went into the break up, 41-29.
Alexander picked up her third foul less than a minute into the second half and her fourth with just over 11 minutes remaining. She fouled out with 5:33 left and her team down, 68-55.
Dolson scored the Huskies’ first 6 points of the second half as UConn opened up a 48-32 lead. The spurt gave the junior at least 20 points for the 11th time in her college career.
She matched her previous career high of 24 on a jumper that gave the Huskies a 58-42 lead just over five minutes into the second half, and topped it with a free throw that gave UConn a 69-55 lead.
Mosqueda-Lewis finished just 2 points shy of her career high and tied a career mark by making six 3-point shots. She also pulled down nine rebounds.
Syracuse had been limiting opponents to 26.6 percent shooting on 3-pointers, tops in the conference, and did well guarding everyone but Mosqueda-Lewis from long-range. The Huskies made 8 of 24 shots from behind the arc, a 33 percent clip.
The Huskies also outrebounded Syracuse, 48-34.
Stewart, who starred at Cicero-North High School in Syracuse, returned for the Huskies a little over a week after rolling her ankle in practice, an injury that forced the freshman to miss two games. Her traditional 3-point play with 3:29 left gave UConn a 79-59 lead and put the game well out of reach.