UConn won't rest starters vs. Irish
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Geno Auriemma says undefeated UConn will not rest its starters in the Huskies' regular-season finale Monday at Notre Dame (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP).
No. 1 Connecticut clinched its 18th Big East regular-season championship on Saturday with an 84-62 win over Georgetown (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP), and Auriemma was asked if he might give his star players some rest against the No. 7 Fighting Irish -- possibly risking an undefeated season.
The short answer was no.
"We'll play everybody," he said. "We're going out there to win it, just like every other Saturday-Monday game. This won't be any different, our approach won't be any different."
Connecticut has won 68 consecutive games, with an average margin of victory of 32.8 points. The Huskies already have beaten the Irish this season, 70-46 in Storrs in January.
"It's rewarding for us, with how hard we are working to try to be perfect," senior Kalana Greene said.
Notre Dame needs to beat the Huskies or get help -- a loss by St. John's (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) -- to avoid slipping to the No. 5 seed for the conference tournament. The top four seeds get double byes while No. 5 only gets a single bye.
But the game also has significance for UConn, which is two wins shy of tying its own mark for the longest winning streak in the history of women's Division I basketball.
"I think it would be [big] if we were undefeated or not," Auriemma said. "We would want to go and play Notre Dame and play like this is a huge game on the road and on national television, and then see what happens."
Tina Charles also needs 13 points and five rebounds on Monday night to become UConn's career leading scorer and rebounder.
"It would definitely be great after I leave and look back on my career at UConn," Charles said. "But, right now, I'm just doing whatever it takes for us to win."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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