7:30 PM ET, February 22, 2005
STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Ashley Battle saved her best for last.The Connecticut senior scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Huskies to a 97-49 victory Tuesday night over Pittsburgh in her final regular-season home game.Her 23rd point was a 3 with 2:05 left and gave the Pittsburgh native 1,000 points for her career."I just went out there and was aggressive," Battle said.Her teammates knew she was closing in on the milestone and did their best to get her open shots. It wasn't easy at times. For a six-minute stretch she missed several shots before finally sinking the 3."That was the longest six minutes ever," Battle said. "Every time I missed it, I just started laughing. I looked over at my aunts and my mother and they were smiling and laughing."Her family was among the sellout crowd of 10,167 that gave her a standing ovation and chanted her name in unison when she hit her final basket."Our fans really appreciate our players in a way that is unique because it's not all tied in to how good they are or how many points they score," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "When you give a lot to this program like these kids have, the fans really appreciate it."Battle, Jessica Moore and seniors Ashley Valley and Stacey Marron were honored during pregame ceremonies along with their families. UConn already had two national titles when they arrived in Storrs. Battle and her classmates have helped hang three more title banners to arena rafters."Just knowing that we've come a long way for being that ragtag group of freshmen kids coming into a national championship team and making an identity for ourselves, I'm glad to say I was a part of that," Battle said.The Huskies (19-6, 12-2 Big East) posted their second-highest point total of the season and finished with a school-record three turnovers.They dominated from the opening tip and forced the Panthers (12-13, 4-10) into 22 turnovers. UConn scored 34 points off the miscues and had the game put away by halftime with a 58-26 lead."UConn just outplayed out," Pittsburgh coach Agnus Berenato said. "I don't feel like we competed with them today."The Huskies had 14 steals in the first half and added two more in the second.Freshman Mel Thomas finished with 11 points for UConn.Marcedes Walker had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the Panthers, who have lost seven of their last eight games.Battle became the fourth UConn player this season to reach 1,000 career points and the 27th in school history. This year's UConn seniors have compiled a 126-11 record and were the first UConn classmates to win a national title in each of their first three seasons."It was neat to see them accomplish all of the things that they've accomplished in the time that they've been here," Auriemma said. "It was an absolute pleasure and an honor to be associated with those kids."Battle and Moore redshirted their freshman year and as fifth-year seniors have watched four classes before them honored at midcourt. Finally it was their turn and Battle made the most of the spotlight."I've never seen anyone have a greater senior night than that," Moore said. "Against Pittsburgh, senior night, 1,000 points. You can't draw it up any better than that."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||18-60 (.300)||35-74 (.473)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-18 (.222)||8-22 (.364)|
|FT Made-Attempted||9-13 (.692)||19-24 (.792)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||18 (0/0)||12 (0/0)|