TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Tina Charles and Connecticut were too much for Florida State.
Charles scored 16 of her 24 points in the second half Monday night to lead the top-ranked Huskies to a 78-59 victory over 12th-ranked Florida State for their 50th straight win.
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“Spectacular,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said about his 6-4 senior center’s strong finish.
“We had plenty of chances in the first half, but Tina just didn’t make them (shots),” Auriemma said.
She didn’t let her coach down in the second half, hitting 8 of 13 shots and grabbing six of her game-high nine rebounds.
“When she brings it, we’re a whole other team,” said Maya Moore, who added 16 points for the Huskies. “She steps up and takes ownership of the paint. It really sparked us in the second half.”
Moore got things rolling for the Huskies with 12 points in the game’s first seven minutes, keying a 17-0 run that gave UConn an early 12-point on its way to a 41-35 halftime advantage.
The Huskies (11-0) led the rest of the way, opening a double-digit lead just four minutes into the second half and won going away.
“We totally dominated the game in the second half,” Auriemma said. “When we play our ‘A’ game we’re not going to lose.”
And UConn was far from playing its best. The Huskies didn’t shoot a free throw in the second half and only eight in the game and was only 5 of 21 from behind the 3-point line.
Florida State (11-2) pulled within 31-29 on Courtney Ward’s jumper with 4:26 in the first half, but never got closer without an answer for Charles.
“She is an offensive rebounding beast and that’s what she did,” Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. “She had most of her offensive rebounds in the second half and that was the difference in the game.”
Jacinta Monroe led Florida State with 14 points and freshman Chasity Clayton added 12.
Courtney Ward scored 11 points, all in the first half, but committed eight of the Seminoles 21 turnovers.
Tiffany Hayes added 13 points and Caroline Doty 10 for the Huskies, who failed to score 80 or more points for the first time this season.
“Everyone is going to come after us,” Charles said. “It’s something we need to really take personal.”
It was the second win in five days over ranked teams for UConn, which defeated second-ranked Stanford 80-68 last Wednesday.
The Huskies won their first nine games this season by an average of 46 points and no team was closer than 25 before its win over Stanford.
UConn is now 5-0 against Florida State, defeating the Seminoles 83-71 in a holiday tournament in Mexico last season.
Coincidentally, the Huskies also defeated Florida State in 2002 for its 50th straight win during its NCAA record 70-game streak.
Auriemma said he didn’t think the winning streak was putting pressure on his team.
“Whoever we’re playing against is probably thinking about the streak more than us,” he said. “They want to stop us.”
And while that’s what a record Florida State crowd of 6,440 had hoped for, it was a game Florida State’s Semrau knows she has to have to get the Seminoles among the elite.
“It was for us a game we needed to grow,” she said. “They really outworked us on the offensive board in the second half.”
Florida State’s only other loss this season was eight days ago to DePaul, 75-60.