7:00 PM ET, December 5, 2007
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Brittany Hunter says she no longer worries when she's on the basketball court.She's not concerned about her sore knee and not fretting about whether the coach is going to yell at her if she takes a bad shot.The senior center had 14 points and five rebounds Wednesday as No. 2 Connecticut moved to 7-0 for the 12th time since 1994 with a 75-45 win over Virginia."I think Brittany is playing the best basketball maybe of her college career, given the amount of minutes she's playing," Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said. "She's not playing a whole lot of minutes, and she's getting a lot done. She's just real comfortable out there right now. ... Why would you have to worry if you're doing 99 percent of the things right?"It was Hunter's best offensive performance since she scored 20 as a freshman for Duke in 2003. She transferred to UConn after that season, had surgery in 2004 to replace the lateral meniscus in her right knee and had been battling soreness and swelling ever since. She plays when the knee allows her to and sits when it doesn't.She started for the fourth consecutive game but played just 14 minutes, pulling down five rebounds and blocking two shots."I'm just relaxed," Hunter said. "I'm just like, I don't care, whatever."Tina Charles scored 18 points to lead UConn. She was 8-for-9 from the field, and Hunter was 7-for-9 as the Huskies dominated the Cavaliers (6-4) in the post.Freshman Maya Moore added 12 points for the Huskies and has been in double figures in every game.Aisha Mohammed, who missed last season with a knee injury, had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Virginia and Monica Wright added 10 points. But the Cavaliers shot just 30 percent from the field and committed 21 fouls."We have been a fairly solid defensive team in our first eight or nine games," said Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan. "But tonight we met an inside game that was a little over our heads."UConn's Mel Thomas scored seven points, becoming the 29th UConn player to reach 1,000 for her career. She missed her first four shots before hitting a 3-pointer late in the first half and then received a standing ovation after hitting a jumper from the free-throw line with 17:17 left to bring her to 1,000. She added two free throws late."People have been hyping this up a lot and it was good to get it over with," she said.UConn jumped out early 16-4. Hunter and Charles each had six during that run.The Huskies grabbed the first six rebounds of the game and hit 11 of their first 13 shots. Both misses resulted in putback layups.Connecticut led 44-22 at the half, despite being held scoreless for 4:24. The Huskies also had their problems at the line, hitting just 1-of-12 free throws.But Ryan said she believes the Huskies are playing far better than any other team in the nation."A lot of teams are gong to catch up by March," she said. "Now, will they catch up all the way? I don't know. But there isn't anybody right now that I see that can really play with that kind of discipline and poise."Virginia came in having won five of its last six games and two in a row. But the Cavaliers are now 1-2 against ranked opponents, with their lone win coming against Texas (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP), 86-83 on Nov. 23.The Huskies now have an 11-day break for exams before playing their next game on Dec.17 against South Carolina. Virginia doesn't play again until Dec. 20 when it hosts Davidson.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||18-59 (.305)||33-56 (.589)|
|3P Made-Attempted||2-13 (.154)||1-12 (.083)|
|FT Made-Attempted||7-9 (.778)||8-19 (.421)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||14 (0/0)|