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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 7, 2010

CBKB: No. 1 UConn ties women's record with 77-41 rout of Orange


PAT EATON-ROBB
Associated Press Writer

HARTFORD, Conn. Connecticut won its 70th consecutive game, routing Syracuse 77-41 in the Big East quarterfinals on Sunday to tie its own record for the longest winning streak in women's college basketball.

Tina Charles tied a career high with 34 points and Maya Moore added 16 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for top-ranked UConn (31-0), which has won each game in its streak by at least 10 points and an average of more than 32.

Moore came into the game needing 13 points to reach 2,000 for her career. She reached that with 18:39 to play on a steal and layup that made it 48-17.

Kayla Alexander scored 11 to lead the Orange (22-10).

The win puts UConn in the conference semifinals for the 22nd straight year, where the Huskies will face Notre Dame. The Irish beat St. John's 75-67 in Sunday's first quarterfinal.

Connecticut is looking for its 16th conference tournament title and its third in a row. The 36-point margin of victory was the largest for UConn since it beat Louisville by 46 on Feb. 7.

Charles hit 16 of her 19 shots, setting a record for the most field goals in a Big East tournament game.

UConn showed a hint of jitters when Moore opened the game with a shot from the corner that missed everything, but the Huskies then reeled off seven points and went on a 17-2 run over the first 6 minutes, getting six each from Moore and Charles.

Syracuse hit just four of its first 20 shots, and two of them layups by Kayla Alexander, and trailed 31-11 with more than 6 minutes left in the half. During the same period of time, Charles had hit six of her first seven shots.

The Orange hit just 14 of its 66 shots from the field (21.2 percent) overall, while the Huskies were hitting on 51.6 percent of their shots. Syracuse was even worse in the first half, shooting just over 18 percent from the floor.

The Huskies' winning streak ties one the program set from Nov. 9, 2001, to March 11, 2003, when it lost in the Big East semifinals to Villanova. UConn is 57-12 in conference tournament games, and the Huskies have now won 135 straight against unranked opponents.

Syracuse, the tournament's ninth seed, may have done enough to earn an NCAA berth with wins over No. 7 West Virginia in its regular-season finale and Providence in the second round of the tournament. That 76-71 victory on Saturday was the first in the Big East tournament for the Orange since 2005.

The semifinal Monday will be the third meeting this season between the Huskies and Irish. UConn beat Notre Dame by 24 points in each of the other two games.