No. 1 Connecticut 85, Providence 53

During most of Connecticut’s 66 consecutive wins, either Tina

Charles or Maya Moore has had a big game.

On Saturday, they were both feeling it.

Charles matched her season high with 26 points and Moore added

21 to lead top-ranked UConn to a 85-53 rout of Providence.

“They can single-handedly just win a game, and certainly

combined,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “When we’re operating

like that and they let us throw the ball to those two on a regular

basis, it’s going to be really, really, really hard to beat

us.”

Kalana Greene chipped in 11 points for UConn (27-0, 13-0 Big

East), which needs just four more victories to tie its own record

for the longest winning streak in the history of Division I women’s

basketball.

Chelsea Marandola had 12 points to lead Providence (15-11, 6-7),

which was coming off consecutive wins over Marquette and Cincinnati

and had won three of its last four.

“We have to take what we learned today and apply it to those

other teams and still have the confidence that we had against a

Marquette, DePaul and a Cincinnati,” said Friars head coach Phil

Seymore. “I think we will. I don’t think this loss will be

devastating to us mentally in our approach to the next game.”

The Huskies have won 55 straight at home, where they are beating

teams by an average of over 31 points. UConn hasn’t lost a

conference game on its home court in four years, and has beaten 237

straight unranked opponents at home.

Connecticut actually trailed 3-2 early, the third consecutive

game the Huskies have found themselves behind. But that didn’t last

long. UConn used a 9-2 run to turn a 5-5 tie into a 14-7 lead, and

a 15-2 run a short time later made it 32-13. Moore had 11 of the

Huskies’ first 17 points and 15 at halftime, when they led

45-25.

Charles had 14 points at the break. The senior center needs just

four more points to pass Rebecca Lobo and move into fifth place on

the school’s all-time scoring list.

UConn scored the first eight points of the second half, and the

rout was on. Auriemma pulled Charles and Moore midway through the

half with UConn up 69-34.

“One of our roles is bringing energy and bringing everything

that we know we can do onto the court,” Moore said. “I think that

as upperclassmen and as mature players, you have to come out with

the mindset that I have to do it every night or else it is not

going to get done.”

This was the fifth time this season the Huskies have had two

players score 20 points – four of those times it has been Moore and

Charles.

“I think it was the first time in a long time that Maya and I

were just in a groove, finding each other,” Charles said. “Me

screening for her, then her dumping it down, or me getting her

rebound. We just really clicked.”

The Huskies’ average margin of victory during their win streak

is just over 33 points, but this blowout followed relatively close

wins against No. 22 St. Johns (14 points), and No. 11 Oklahoma

(16). Every victory during the streak has been by double

digits.

UConn held Providence to 31 percent shooting and outrebounded

the Friars 41-34, Charles pulling down nine of them.

The Huskies have won 25 straight against the Friars.

UConn can clinch its 18th Big East regular season title by

winning two of its final three. The Huskies have games left against

Syracuse, No. 14 Georgetown and No. 4 Notre Dame.