UConn has Maya Moore, and a lot of youth

Maya Moore has been a leader at UConn since stepping on the

basketball court as a freshman.

But this season is different. As the senior All-American tries

to help extend the Huskies 78-game winning streak and put them in

position for a third consecutive national title, there will be no

older star to help her. No Renee Montgomery. No Tina Charles.

This year, Moore is the elder statesman.

She and junior guard Tiffany Hayes are the only returning

starters on a squad that will include five freshmen.

”This is what happens,” Moore said. ”People graduate, and

they move on. The biggest thing with me is I’m going to have to

work smarter this year. I’m going to have to get to the foul line

more, I’m going to have to take care of the ball, rebound


Moore averaged almost 19 points and more than eight rebounds

last season in guiding UConn to a 39-0 record and a seventh

national championship. If she keeps up those numbers, she could end

her career as UConn’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder.

She needs just 178 points to reach the scoring mark, and is 404

rebounds away from Charles’ record. Her offseason was spent helping

the U.S. national team win a gold medal at the world


Her role this season is being compared to the one Diana Taursi

filled in leading UConn’s 2002-2003 team, after the departure of

stars such as Sue Bird, Asjha Jones and Swin Cash.

But Auriemma hopes Moore isn’t using Taurasi as a measuring


”If Maya’s goal during the next seven months is to be the

greatest player in the history of UConn basketball, I think that’s

misguided,” he said. ”If her goal is to make sure that we have

the best team in the country, then the rest will take care of


The Huskies open Nov. 14 against Holy Cross, but then play No. 2

Baylor on Nov. 16. The Huskies also have LSU and Ohio State before

Christmas, and Stanford, Duke and Oklahoma later.

If they can get past the Buckeyes without a loss, they will play

Florida State on Dec. 21 with a chance to break the UCLA men’s

record of 88 consecutive wins.

Auriemma said that is not a big team goal, and he is on the

record as saying he expects the Huskies to lose this season.

”Each year, our goal is to win six games in a row in March,”

he said. ”If the record was that important to me, we wouldn’t have

the schedule that we have.”

Moore was expected to have more experience around her. But UConn

lost junior guard Caroline Doty to a knee injury in the


Hayes scored 25 points in the Huskies first exhibition game, and

UConn does return other talented players, including senior point

guard Lorin Dixon, and junior guard Kelly Faris.

But the freshmen, especially center Stefanie Dolson, guard Bria

Hartley and forward Samarie Walker are expected to play key


”We have to get contributions from everybody,” Moore said.

”It is a new year. The old teams, the old history is gone. This is

what we have. Everybody is going to come in and bring something. We

can’t just depend on the reputation of the program.”