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No. 1 UConn just keeps on rolling

Nov 21, 2009 - 3:11 AM WORCESTER, Mass.(AP) -- Maya Moore found something for top-ranked Connecticut's already stifling defense to work on even in another lopsided win.

Moore scored 21 points, Tina Charles added 18 and the Huskies coasted to their 42nd straight victory, beating Holy Cross 87-34 on Friday night.

"Our focus coming into the locker room (at halftime) was to limit their 3s," Moore said. "I didn't think we were all that satisfied with what we did."

It was the 117th win against unranked non-conference opponents for the Huskies (3-0), who have won their first three games by an average margin of 49.3 points after going undefeated last season.

During their run to their sixth national championship last season, the Huskies beat teams by an average of 30 points.

On Friday, they controlled the inside, frustrated the Crusaders with a new-look fullcourt press and tipped passes that led to easy baskets from a scrappy 1-2-2 zone, but they allowed some open 3s.

The Huskies led 52-22 at halftime, but Holy Cross nailed five 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes.

"We set goals each game," Huskies point guard Caroline Doty said. "We want to get these goals each game."

UConn coach Geno Auriemma, who captured his 699th career win, was satisfied with his team's defense.

The Crusaders shot just 26.7 percent from the floor in the game.

"We did a couple of different things (defensively) and I thought we handled it very well, especially our big kids," he said. "I thought they handled it very well. Maya was Maya. Tina was Tina and everybody else filled in."

Doty added 11 points and seven assists for the Huskies. Moore was 9 of 12 from the floor and had seven rebounds.

Auriemma cleared the bench with 14:14 to play in the second half with the Huskies leading 67-24.

"I've got a whole boat load of `41 and done' T-shirts," Holy Cross coach Bill Gibbons joked before praising the Huskies' defense. "I still think it's one of (Auriemma's) best defensive teams. They're so long and athletic."

Bethany O'Dell led Holy Cross (2-2) with 11 points.

Playing at the DCU Center instead of on-campus offered UConn a "home" feel in its first true road game of the season with most of the crowd cheering for the Huskies.

"It's just a great opportunity to go out there and play against them," said O'Dell, who was 3 for 5 from behind 3-point line. "You're competing against the best so you have to get better."

UConn beat then-No. 10 Texas 83-58 in a neutral-court contest in San Antonio on Tuesday. The Huskies will have six days off before facing Hofstra on Nov. 27.

In the first half, UConn combined its height advantage and the superior play of Charles and Moore to dominate inside, opening a 16-3 lead 6:11 into the game.

The only thing UConn struggled with in the opening half was its 3-point shooting, hitting just 3 of 12. The Crusaders were 5 of 11 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes, but scored just one basket in the lane.

Holy Cross, which committed 17 first-half turnovers, had trouble with the Huskies' zone early. At least a half dozen times in the half UConn tipped passes out high in the zone, leading to breakaway baskets.

After Holy Cross' Whitney Fremeau hit a 3 from the top, making it 29-14, UConn scored the next 17 points. Charles and Moore each had a basket in the spree. Doty capped it with a 3 from the top with 4:50 to play.

In the second half, UConn scored 15 of the first 17 points before Auriemma went to his bench early, resting his starters. Heather Buck's basket in the paint made it 83-31 with just under 6 minutes left.

It was the 20th meetings between the schools. UConn has won 18, including a 96-37 win at Storrs last season.

"I think our kids can gain something positive from this," Gibbons said. "Playing against the best is a great barometer."

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