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
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
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
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
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.
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