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UConn women beat Notre Dame for record 71st win in row

HARTFORD, Conn. - The top-ranked Connecticut Huskies made women's college basketball history last night - not that you would have known it by watching them.

Tina Charles scored 16 points and Maya Moore added 11 to help UConn win an NCAA-record 71st straight game, beating No. 6 Notre Dame, 59-44, in a Big East Tournament semifinal.

The Huskies didn't gloat, though. They didn't even celebrate. Just another night's work for coach Geno Auriemma's latest dynasty.

"I can't think anything is more important than winning and playing in the Big East championship for these kids," Auriemma said.

UConn surpassed its own mark set from Nov. 9, 2001, to March 11, 2003. Unlike that run, which ended in a loss to Villanova in the Big East Tournament semifinals, this Huskies team has thoroughly dominated its opponents in every game, winning all of them by double digits.

"After the season, the last game we play, we can look back and see what we've done," said Kalana Greene, who had 15 points. "You don't want to celebrate about wins. We don't plan on our season being over anytime soon."

The Huskies are focused on bigger goals - not just winning a 16th Big East Conference championship but also a seventh national title. Connecticut (32-0) will face West Virginia Tuesday night.

Even top teams haven't posed much of a challenge for the Huskies since they beat Georgia Tech to start this run on Nov. 16, 2008. With the win over Notre Dame (27-5), UConn is 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 of 86 minutes in the 71 games. It's been even more uncommon for UConn to be down in the second half; it's faced a deficit after intermission only three times.

West Virginia 56, Rutgers 49: Sarah Miles had 18 points to lead No. 9 West Virginia (28-4) over Rutgers in the other Big East semifinal. Khadijah Rushdan scored 12 points and Monique Oliver had 11 for Rutgers (19-14).

Now West Virginia will try to end UConn's streak. Said coach Mike Carey, "I told the girls after the game, we're going to come tomorrow night to compete, we're not coming to just show up. As long as our girls compete and play hard, I'm going to be satisfied with that, win or lose."

Visiting Connecticut beat West Virginia, 80-47, on Feb. 2. Guard Liz Repella said the Mountaineers know they have to play with more intensity to avoid a blowout. "We played them good for 25 minutes,'' she said, "and you can't play good for 25 minutes against UConn and expect to win, or even keep it close."

Coach C. Vivian Stringer has said Rutgers will not accept a bid to the WNIT if it doesn't get invited to the NCAAs.


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