Charles scores 14, grabs 19 boards in UConn rout

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma bristled after the Huskies' 76-45 win Saturday over Syracuse was referred to as a tuneup for Monday's showdown with second-ranked North Carolina.

A win, Auriemma said, is a win, no matter who it is against.

"If we win Monday night, we don't get three Ws, we get one. If we lose Monday you get one L, you don't get three," he said.

Kalana Greene had 23 points and freshman center Tina Charles had 14 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks to lead UConn (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today; No. 7 AP) over the Orange.

It was Charles fifth double-double of the season, and her 19 rebounds were the most for any UConn player since Swin Cash pulled down 20 in a game against West Virginia in 2001.

"Basically, every ball that goes off the glass is supposed to be mine," Charles said. "That's all."

Vaida Sipaviciute led Syracuse (8-10, 2-3) with 12 points. Fantasia Goodwin added 11, and Cintia Johnson and freshman Nicole Michael each had 10.

UConn (14-1, 4-0 Big East) hit just one of its first 10 shots and had several early turnovers, prompting Auriemma to kick the scorer's table. But the Huskies then held Syracuse without a field goal for 8:35, and got the transition game going, using a a 17-0 run to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 19-4 lead.

Michael picked up her third foul with 7:12 to go in the half and the Orange could get no closer than nine points the rest of the way, shooting just 25 percent from the floor. UConn led 34-20 at halftime.

"That's the team that we are trying to be, and I think that is the kind of game that we play," Greene said. "Our defense extended the floor, which led to transition points."

The Huskies opened the second half with a 21-7 run, and Renee Montgomery's layup off a steal with 13:10 left made it 55-27.

Montgomery had 10 points and nine assists for Connecticut, and Charde Houston added 11 points and eight rebounds.

It was the Huskies' 15th straight win over Syracuse and 194th consecutive win at home against an unranked opponent.

Syracuse had 24 turnovers, which led to 28 UConn points, and the Huskies outrebounded the Orange 46-38.

"Tina Charles is remarkable," said Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman. "When you can miss a shot and get the rebound and get another rebound, its hard to play 2-for-1 on the offensive end."

UConn struggled from outside, hitting just 4 of 22 3-point shots. The Huskies were 1-of-13 from behind the arc before halftime.

Despite that, Montgomery said the team is confident heading to Chapel Hill.

"I don't have any concerns," she said. "I think we'll just do what we have to do to win. If they are playing (inside), we're just going to have to drive the ball, get some easy buckets on fastbreak plays and get our shot going."

But if they lose, Auriemma said that won't be the end of the world.

"Maryland got their (butt) beat today at Duke and they aren't going to go home and think that they can't win the national championship because they lost one game," he said. "If you put too much emphasis on it, you're putting it on the wrong thing."