Charles goes over 2,000 as UConn beats Pitt 98-56Jan 30, 2010 - 11:28 PM By ALAN ROBINSON AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH(AP) -- The incredible numbers keep adding up for No. 1 Connecticut, yet the Huskies only have one single goal in mind - raising the national championship trophy at the end of the season.
Tina Charles scored 24 points to become the sixth Connecticut player to reach 2,000 points in her career and the top-ranked Huskies coasted to their 60th consecutive victory, beating overwhelmed Pittsburgh 98-56 on Saturday.
"They all know what the goal is and what the final destination is," Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said, referring to winning a seventh national title. "(There's) no streak talk, no numbers talk, no nothing. Let's get better."
Maya Moore, part of the inside-outside combination with Charles that has made these Huskies (21-0, 8-0 in Big East) one of the best teams in UConn's wildly successful history, added 22 points in a game that - as usual - was decided after only a few minutes.
Connecticut, now 10 victories away from matching its own NCAA women's record of 70 consecutive wins set in 2001-03, opened leads of 15-4 and 19-6 in the opening 5 1/2 minutes. After Pitt got to within eight points at 21-13, the Huskies went on a 14-2 run that made it 35-15 and erased any doubt whether this would be another Huskies romp.
No team has come within 10 points of UConn during its winning streak, and the Huskies' only relatively close game this season was an 80-68 decision over Stanford. The Huskies' average winning margin is 40 points.
Pitt coach Agnus Berenato knows what she saw: One of the best women's teams in NCAA history. She predicted the Huskies might well break the UCLA men's national record of 88 consecutive victories, especially with Moore returning next season.
"You're watching a dynasty," Berenato said. "They could break John Wooden's record of 88-0."
Berenato confidently predicted before the game that her Panthers might pull off a Miracle on Ice-like upset - "Watch the news headlines," she told a friend - but also acknowledged, "I was worried we might not score double digits in the first half."
Shay Scott scored 18 for Pittsburgh (12-8, 1-6), which lost for the sixth time in seven games and is in serious danger of not making the NCAA tournament - especially with its next three games against Syracuse, Georgetown and Notre Dame. The Panthers have dropped 25 in a row to the Huskies, who are 21-0 for a third consecutive season.
UConn is No. 1 in The Associated Press women's basketball poll for the 36th straight week, and is certain to surpass Louisiana Tech (1980-82) for the longest run atop the Top 25 when the next poll is released on Monday.
"Just because the teams we're playing against aren't able to do what we do doesn't mean we're the best of all time, the history of basketball," Auriemma said. "We're flawed just like any team that's flawed, and we try to chip away at it (every day)."
There wasn't much to dislike about a first half in which the Huskies shot 63.2 percent (24 of 38) while outscoring Pitt 57-32, but did so without rushing themselves.
"I thought we did some things offensively that we haven't done all year," Auriemma said. "We weren't in a hurry. A lot of games this year we were trying to score so quickly that a lot of the stuff we do doesn't look good. ... You're not going to be able to run up and down and shoot layups against every team you play."
Charles, a 6-foot-4 senior from Jamaica, N.Y., scored 18 points in the first half, one more than she needed to become the first Huskies player to go over the 2,000-point mark since All-American Diana Taurasi in 2004. She reached 2,000 by scoring inside with five minutes left before halftime.
"She's playing as well as she's played," Auriemma said.
Kalana Greene scored 18 points as the Huskies finished up shooting 55.6 percent (35 of 63) to Pitt's 37.9 percent (22 of 58). The Huskies held a 43-26 rebounding edge as Charles, who missed only three of 13 shots, had nine rebounds.
- NCAA WOMENS BB
CONNECTICUT (1) 98
PITTSBURGH 56 FINAL
Jan 30 4:04 PM
- NCAA WOMENS BB
CONNECTICUT (1) 57
PITTSBURGH 32 HALFTIME
Jan 30 2:57 PM
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