Huskies win their 15th consecutive conference opener

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's top player coming out of high school was struggling early in her college career. A meeting with the coach and a solid performance in a 58-point victory might be enough to get her going in the right direction.

Tina Charles had 14 points and seven rebounds Thursday night as No. 7 Connecticut routed Georgetown 84-26 in the Big East opener for both teams.

"I had a meeting with coach," Charles said, "and he said to me, 'Just play my game and have fun.' In the past two games, I was thinking too much."

Charles, the consensus national high school player of the year from Christ the King High School in New York, had scored only nine points on 4-for-10 shooting in her last two games combined.

"She needed a little confidence-booster," coach Geno Auriemma said. "It's the first time in her life she's ever struggled with anything. It's not a bad thing for a kid to realize they're not perfect or superhuman. The game of basketball doesn't care that you're the No. 1 recruit in the country and that you're supposed to be the best player in the league as a rookie. She's learning. It's a little bit harder than she thought, but that's a good thing."

Charde Houston added 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting for the Huskies (6-0), who put the game away with a 42-3 run that built a 55-12 halftime lead.

Connecticut led 13-9 with 12:35 remaining in the half -- a relatively slow start due in part to turnovers -- but the cold-shooting, turnover-prone Hoyas (7-3) scored only one field goal and one made free throw the rest of the half. Georgetown missed 15 of its last 16 shots in the half and attempted only one shot in the half's final four minutes.

"They played really, really bad," Auriemma said. "And maybe we made them play a lot worse than they are, but when a good team plays really well, and the other team which doesn't have as much talent really struggles, then you get the kind of score that was the way it was today."

The Huskies have won 15 consecutive conference openers. Connecticut has also won 20 straight against Georgetown, with a winning margin averaging more than 30 points.

Renee Montgomery added 11 points, including a falling-down layup that she converted into a three-point play during the long first-half run.

The Huskies committed 15 turnovers, but that paled next to the Hoyas' 25, which Connecticut converted into 30 points.

Kieraah Marlow scored 12 points to lead the Hoyas, who had won seven straight with a weak nonconference schedule. Georgetown shot 10-for-48 (21 percent) from the field and 2-for-16 from 3-point range.

Connecticut took 13 more free throws than Georgetown and had a 50-29 rebounding advantage.

The Huskies now head into a 10-day break for exams feeling better than they had following what they considered to be a subpar effort Monday, when they beat Holy Cross 83-64.

"Coming off the game against Holy Cross, we didn't want to follow it with a sloppy game," Houston said. "And we came together and we talked before the game, and we made sure it didn't happen."