No. 1 Connecticut 60, No. 9 West Virginia 32

UConn finally celebrated – just a little bit.

The top-ranked Huskies danced and cheered after they cruised to

their 72nd straight win and 16th Big East tournament championship

with a 60-32 victory over No. 9 West Virginia on Tuesday night.

It was a much more festive atmosphere than the night before when

they broke their own NCAA record for consecutive wins.

“We had a lot of minature goals during the entire season,”

said Kalana Greene, who scored 15 points and earned most

outstanding player honors of the tournament. “Every championship

that’s thrown at us we want to win it. The streak can be thrown at

us and if we don’t win the Big East championship it doesn’t mean

anything.”

The next challenge – if anything can truly be called a challenge

for these Huskies – is the NCAA tournament. With six more

victories, UConn will have its second consecutive national title

and seventh overall.

Greene made her first seven shots and grabbed 12 rebounds. She

provided the same offensive spark she’s been giving the Huskies all

season.

“I thought all year long Kalana’s been really consistent,”

UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “Whether it’s a defensive spurt,

offensive spurt, or rebounding.”

The Huskies have won five of the last six conference tournament

titles and enter the NCAAs unbeaten for the fifth time in school

history. UConn went on to win the national championship in 1995,

2002, and 2009. In 1996-97 they lost to Tennessee in the regional

final. In all, 11 teams have gone through the regular season

unbeaten with five of them winning the national title.

UConn (33-0) stands six wins short of becoming the first team to

go through consecutive seasons unbeaten. The Huskies won 71

straight games from Nov. 9, 2001, to March 11, 2003.

The Huskies, who have won both the regular season and conference

tournament title the last three years and 14 times in school

history, held West Virginia to the lowest total in a Big East

championship game.

“If you can hold Connecticut to 60 points with all the players

they have you should be in the game,” West Virginia coach Mike

Carey said. “We struggled to score.”

With All-Americans Maya Moore and Tina Charles having off-games,

Greene and Tiffany Hayes carried the offense. Hayes finished with

15 points. Charles had 12 and Moore 10, but they combined to make

just three of their first 22 shots.

UConn improved to 14-0 against top-10 opponents, winning by an

average of 26.3 points.

The Huskies have now won the last 22 meetings with West

Virginia, including an 80-47 rout at the XL Center on Feb. 2. In

that game the Mountaineers played tough for 25 minutes before

succumbing to the Huskies.

On Tuesday night, UConn once again jumped out quickly on West

Virginia.

The Huskies, who have won every game during its record streak by

double figures, used a 20-4 run in the first half to turn a

one-point lead into a 27-10 advantage with 6:42 left. The

Mountaineers wouldn’t wilt, using their tenacious defense which

allowed only 51.5 points coming into the game, to stick around.

West Virginia (28-5) answered with a 18-6 spurt of its own

spanning the half to close to 33-28 on Natalie Burton’s free throw

with 15:32 left in the game. Liz Repella had eight points during

the burst, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key that hit

the front rim, bounced straight up and then in that made it 33-27

UConn.

The Huskies then went on one of their typical runs, scoring 27

of the next 29 points to end any hopes of the upset.

“We cut it to five and had a couple bad shots, and they got a

couple offensive rebounds,” Carey said. “Then the game got very,

very physical and we’re not going to win that battle with

them.”

The Huskies held West Virginia without a point for nearly the

final 11 minutes until a meaningless layup with 28 seconds

left.

“We had breakdowns on defense, offense,” said Liz Repella, who

led West Virginia with 10 points. “You can’t have those breakdowns

and play with UConn.”

Greene had six points during the spurt, and also a nifty pass to

Moore for a layup off an offensive rebound that made it 49-30 with

8:51 left.

“She’s a very critical part of our team,” Moore said of

Greene. “She can do a lot of different things on the court. She’s

our safety net who doesn’t get the credit she deserves, but it’s

great she’s being recognized for all the things she does.”

Charles, who had missed seven of her first eight shots, hit

three foul line jumpers and a layup during the burst.

Caroline Doty was in her customary place in the starting lineup

after suffering a scary head and neck injury during the Huskies’

NCAA-record 71st straight victory Monday night. The sophomore guard

was inadvertently elbowed in the head by Notre Dame’s Ashley Barlow

with 50 seconds left in Monday night’s game.

Doty didn’t show any outward signs of the injury, but was

ineffective in her 16 minutes, scoring just one point.

West Virginia was making only its second trip to the

championship game.

“You saw what they’ve done the last three nights,” said

Auriemma of the Mountaineers. “DePaul’s a good offensive team,

they shut Rutgers down and did essentially the same thing against

us. I wouldn’t want to play them in the NCAA tournament.”