UConn's Hartley can become part of a record

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The last time the Connecticut women's basketball team lost a game, Bria Hartley wasn't old enough to drive a car.

But the freshman point guard from North Babylon will attempt to drive the Huskies into the record books Sunday at Madison Square Garden when No. 1 Connecticut takes on No. 11 Ohio State in the Maggie Dixon Classic.

UConn will attempt to earn its 88th consecutive win, which would tie the UCLA men's team from 1971-74 for the longest Division I winning streak.

"To tell you the truth, I don't feel that much pressure," Hartley said in a phone interview Friday. "The streak was compiled when I wasn't here. I've just become a part of it."

A pretty big part of it. Hartley is averaging 13.8 points and 2.8 assists in 31.4 minutes in her first season with UConn. She is the latest in a long line of great point guards to play for the Huskies, and none of the others had as many points through the first nine games as Hartley.

Coach Geno Auriemma would have liked to bring her along a little more slowly, as he did with Sue Bird, Renee Montgomery and Diana Taurasi. But the loss of last season's point guard, Caroline Doty, because of a knee injury has put Auriemma in the position of needing to play Hartley more than 30 minutes per game.

Hartley said the hardest part of taking over the point was mental. She initially had a hard time giving direction to players who had won a couple of NCAA championships without her.

"I'm stepping into the leader role a little more, but it's been a process," she said. "In the beginning, it was hard to be vocal."

Hartley has never played at Madison Square Garden and said she can't wait for tipoff.

"It's going to be a great game, a great game for women's college basketball,'' she said. "I know they want to beat us. Everybody does. When you come into this program, you know you are going to have a target on your back."

And maybe even a name in the record books.

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