HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Tina Charles, Maya Moore and the latest Connecticut Huskies dynasty now has its own place in the record books.
Charles scored 16 points and Moore added 11 to help top-ranked Connecticut win an NCAA record 71st straight game — a 59-44 victory over No. 6 Notre Dame on Monday night in the semifinals of the Big East tournament.
UConn surpassed its own mark set from Nov. 9, 2001, to March 11, 2003. Unlike that amazing run, which ended in a loss in the Big East conference tournament semifinals to Villanova, this Huskies team has thoroughly dominated its opponents in every game, winning all of them by double digits.
Connecticut (32-0) will face either West Virginia or Rutgers on Tuesday night with a chance to win its 16th Big East conference tournament championship.
Even top teams haven’t posed much of a challenge for the Huskies during their remarkable run.
With Monday’s win over Notre Dame (27-5), UConn improved to 13-0 against top-10 opponents, winning by an average of 26.2 points. Even second-ranked Stanford lost by 12 when the teams met in late December.
UConn has rarely even trailed during its streak. The Huskies have been behind for a total 86 minutes in the 71 games. It’s been even more uncommon for UConn to be down in the second half — only facing a deficit three times after intermission. None of those scares lasted long. There hasn’t been a need for any late-game rallies or last-second shots by the Huskies.
Notre Dame kept it close for a half.
UConn only led 25-22 at the break — its lowest scoring output in nearly three years. The Huskies then asserted themselves, led be Kalana Greene.
The senior hit just one of eight shots in the first 20 minutes, but scored the first four points of a decisive 13-4 run that gave UConn a 49-35 lead with 9:00 left. Moore’s deep 3-pointer capped the spurt. Greene finished the game with 15 points.
Notre Dame, which was led by Skylar Diggins’ 10 points, was only able to close to 10.
Even with the incredible numbers that this team has put up, coach Geno Auriemma is still partial to the 2002 team that started its previous record streak. That team, which was led by Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, featured four of the first six picks in the WNBA draft.