12:00 PM ET, December 23, 2006
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut center Brittany Hunter's surgically repaired right knee felt fine in warmups.It looked good for most of Saturday's first half, too, as Hunter matched a career high with 13 points and nine rebounds, helping No. 6 UConn beat Oakland, Mich., 85-53.But Hunter, who had major surgery in 2004 and has been playing with torn cartilage this season, pulled up lame with about a minute to go before intermission, and sat out the rest of the game with ice on that knee.Coach Geno Auriemma said the team won't know until next week whether she irritated the knee or did more damage. He has been leaving the decision about how much Hunter plays to her."It's like a guy who drives a race car," Auriemma said. "He knows when he should keep driving and he knows when he should pull over."UConn starting center Tina Charles also left the game with an injury, after scoring nine of the Huskies' first 11 points. Charles, a 6-4 freshman, hurt her right shoulder diving for a loose ball with UConn up 39-20 and 4:00 to go in the half. She has had problems with that shoulder since high school and should be fine with some rest, Auriemma said.Kalana Greene stepped into the void, scoring 14 points and pulling down 13 rebounds to lead UConn to its first 9-0 start in three seasons. It was the 5-10 sophomore's first double-double, and capped off the best week of her career. She scored 21 in a victory over Virginia on Monday, and 17 in Thursday's win over Colorado State."I was aggressive, the ball kind of bounced my way and I just went out there and got rebounds," she said. "It feels good. It's a big confidence booster."Oakland (4-8) scored the game's first point, but never led again. Nicole Piggott led the Grizzlies with 14 points and Jessica Pike had 10.UConn outrebounded Oakland 55-34, including 24 offensive rebounds."We just could not keep them off the boards," said Oakland coach Beckie Francis. "We got out of this game how good a ranked team is -- a national-championship level team -- and we got out of it that we need to improve on our rebounding."UConn used a 12-0 run to go up 25-7, scoring 18 of those 25 points in the paint. The Huskies led 43-26 at halftime, then went on a 9-0 run to open the second half.Guards Renee Montgomery and Mel Thomas each had 10 points and freshman Kaili McLaren came off the bench to score all nine of her points in the second half for UConn.The victory was No. 598 for Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, who is in his 22nd season and on track to reach 600 wins faster than any coach in history."That's a lot of wins, I guess," Auriemma said.The Grizzlies have lost four in a row and all three on a road trip that began with visits to West Virginia and Auburn.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||24-66 (.364)||37-78 (.474)|
|3P Made-Attempted||2-11 (.182)||3-15 (.200)|
|FT Made-Attempted||3-7 (.429)||8-11 (.727)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||14 (0/0)||10 (0/0)|