(6) Connecticut 84

(16-2, 6-0 Big East)

St. John's 63

(5-12, 1-5 Big East)

    4:30 PM ET, January 21, 2007

    1 2 T
    #6CONN 37 4784
    SJU 24 3963

    Top Performers

    Connecticut: M. Thomas 19 Pts, 2 Reb

    St. John's: M. Mclean 19 Pts, 5 Reb

    Huskies roll to victory in first game at MSG

    AP Sports Writer

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Connecticut's Mel Thomas made five 3-pointers in the first half against outmatched St. John's, helping the Huskies enjoy their first game at Madison Square Garden.

    Thomas finished with 19 points to lead UConn (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) to an 84-63 victory over the Red Storm on Sunday.

    "There is no other place like this in the world," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.

    Tina Charles and Renee Montgomery added 15 points apiece for the Huskies (16-2, 6-0 Big East), who scored 25 points off 19 Red Storm turnovers.

    "I got a lot of wide-open shots. I was a little surprised," said Thomas, who finished 5-for-14 from 3-point range before a crowd of 11,716 that stayed after St. John's men upset Syracuse. "Everybody was excited to come out here. So many great players have played here. It was just fun."

    Kia Wright had 19 points, including the 1,000th of her career, for St. John's. Monique McLean added 17 points and Tiina Sten had 14 for the Red Storm (5-12, 0-5), who lost their 23rd straight to UConn.

    "It feels good to get 1,000 points here," said Wright, who got the milestone in the first half. "It's too bad we didn't get the win."

    UConn led 37-24 at the break and opened the second half with a 9-0 run. St. John's never threatened in the second half as the Huskies continued to press and force turnovers.

    Consecutive baskets by Kalana Greene, who scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half, gave the Huskies a 66-41 lead with 9:40 left. McLean, who had nine points after the break, had a jumper with just over 3 minutes left to bring the Red Storm to 74-54.

    Auriemma wasn't pleased with his team's 19 turnovers.

    "I thought for 25 of the 40 minutes, we looked like a really good team," he said. "For about 15 of those minutes, we had trouble guarding St. John's."

    The Red Storm took their only lead at 6-5 on two free throws by Wright. Thomas' third straight 3-pointer gave UConn a 16-8 lead and her fourth extended it to 21-12 after the Red Storm missed shots underneath.

    Thomas capped the 14-6 run with another 3-pointer for a 30-14 lead with 8:14 left in the first half. The Red Storm closed the half by outscoring the Huskies 10-7 behind four points each by McLean and Wright to trail by 13 at the break.

    "I think we fell asleep for a few possessions," St. John's coach Kim Barnes Arico said. "Anytime we had a lapse, (Thomas) took advantage of it."

    It was a homecoming for UConn freshman center Charles, who played at Christ the King High School in Queens.

    "It was good to be here again," Charles said. "I played here my senior year. I was happy my teammates got the opportunity to play here."

    St. John's dropped to 3-1 at the Garden.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 63
    FG Made-Attempted 32-63 (.508) 21-63 (.333)
    3P Made-Attempted 8-23 (.348) 2-11 (.182)
    FT Made-Attempted 12-18 (.667) 19-23 (.826)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 14 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 27 1

    Game Leaders

    PointsM. Thomas 19M. Mclean 19
    ReboundsC. Houston 9M. Mclean 5

    2006-07 Season

    » Jan 21, 2007 CONN 84, @SJU 63Recap | Box Score