7:00 PM ET, December 18, 2006
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Ten days without a game left Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma worried about his team's focus heading into Monday's night game at Virginia.It looked instead like his team had been preparing for more than final exams.Kalana Greene scored 11 of her 21 points during a 25-9 run to start the second half and the No. 6 Huskies handed new-look Virginia and Auriemma's long-ago boss Debbie Ryan and old-fashioned whipping, 96-60. It was Virginia's worst home loss since 1980.Auriemma said he was honored the Huskies were invited to be part of Virginia's first season in its glistening new home, but he also was glad to have it over with."I hate these games. That's why I try to avoid it as much as possible because somebody's going to walk out of there feeling bad, either myself or the other coach," Auriemma said. He added, apologetically: "Everything we threw up there went in."That was especially true for Greene, who made 10 of 12 shots and had nine rebounds to lead the way as the Huskies (7-0) ran a virtual passing clinic and layup drill. They shot 66 percent, showing time and again how one extra pass leads to an easy basket."I think confidence was the most part of it, thinking the shots were going to go in when I shot them," Greene said. Doing it after halftime only made it sweeter."That's the strategy every game, to get the momentum at the beginning of the half. We're all looking to get a bigger lead and go on a big run at the beginning," she said.The Cavaliers (8-3) lost for the second time in seven games in the $130 million John Paul Jones Arena, which opened this year. They lost last month to Liberty.Virginia shot just 27 percent and had nine shots blocked by the taller Huskies.Junior guard Sharnee Zoll said it was a loss that will linger all season, and serve as motivation for the Cavaliers as they point toward the start of conference play."You don't forget a 30-point loss on your homecourt in front of all these people," she said. "Any time in practice that we get tired, this will be brought up."Renee Montgomery added 17 points and nine assists for Connecticut.Lyndra Littles led Virginia with 14 points, but missed 13 of 17 shots. Siedah Williams added 11 points and Monica Wright had 10. Virginia missed 53 of 73 shots."Connecticut made us feel off balance and we didn't do anything to get them out of their comfort zone," Ryan said. She had lost three of five meetings with Auriemma.The game was a homecoming of sorts for Auriemma, who was an assistant to Ryan from 1981-85, and for Huskies assistant Tonya Cordoza, who starred on the Cavaliers team that beat Auriemma's Huskies in 1991 to put Virginia in the NCAA championship game.But a lot has changed since then, with Auriemma building a five-time national champion, while Ryan, in her 31st year, has seen her program lose its perennial Top 25 status. The Cavaliers have missed the NCAA tournament in two of the last three years.The difference was apparent from the start as the Huskies scored nine points in a row to take a 13-5 lead after just 3 1/2 minutes. They led 45-32 at the half and cruised from there.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||42-63 (.667)||20-73 (.274)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-10 (.500)||3-18 (.167)|
|FT Made-Attempted||7-12 (.583)||17-21 (.810)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||18 (0/0)||12 (0/0)|