BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- In the blink of an eye, Connecticut turned another first-round NCAA tournament game into a glorified layup line.
Maya Moore scored 17 points to lead a balanced offense and top-ranked UConn beat Cornell 89-47 on Sunday night. At the first media timeout, the Huskies held a 7-5 lead and the 16th-seeded Big Red had to be feeling pretty good.Then the Huskies did what they usually do to their first-round NCAA opponents."It happened so quickly, from a 7-5 lead to a lot to not so many," said Huskies coach Geno Auriemma, who celebrated his 54th birthday. "That's the way our team operates. We tend to go on runs like that."Connecticut (33-1) will play Texas on Tuesday night in the second round of the Greensboro regional."There was one stretch there were it seemed like Charde [Houston] was getting layup after layup after layup, getting good assists from every guard out there" said Moore, the Big East freshman and player of the year who was making her NCAA tournament debut. "I think when we are running in transition, it's really hard to stop us from doing what we try to do."UConn hasn't won a first-round game by fewer than 23 points since 1995, the year the Huskies earned the first of their five national titles. Houston added 14 points, Brittany Hunter had 11, and Renee Montgomery 10 as Connecticut shot 54 percent from the field."That's how we love to play," said Montgomery of the balanced offense. "There isn't a need for someone to score 20 points a night."Allie Fedorowicz and Gretchen Gregg scored eight points each to lead Cornell (20-9).The win started the Huskies' quest to reach the Final Four for the first time since 2004. The four seniors -- Ketia Swanier, Hunter, Houston, and the injured Mel Thomas -- are trying to avoid becoming the first UConn class not to appear in a Final Four in 20 years.The Big Red, making their NCAA tournament debut, set a school record with 20 wins this season, blowing away the previous high of 12. Cornell won the Ivy League title after beating Dartmouth in a playoff."I never allowed them to look at the records," Cornell coach Dayna Smith said. "I told them now they can pat themselves on the back and enjoy."About the only time UConn was scrambling Sunday night was in the pregame warmups when they were caught on the wrong side of the court for the national anthem. The Huskies quickly ran across the floor as the Cornell band started playing the Star Spangled Banner.After the 7-5 start, the Huskies went on a 22-2 run over the next 5 1/2 minutes to put the game away. UConn held Cornell without a field goal for nearly 11 minutes to extend its lead to 41-16."I told them I wanted them to play hard for the first 4 minutes. I just forgot to tell them what do after that," said Smith with a smile.Kayleen Fitzsimmons finally ended the Big Red's drought with a 3-pointer. Cornell cut the deficit to 43-23 before the Huskies ended the half with 10 straight points, capped by Meghan Gardler's layup just before the buzzer.Cornell could get no closer in the second half.Jeomi Maduka, the Ivy League player of the year, was held to seven points -- going 0-for-10 from the field. The two-sport star, who has already qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the long jump, is believed to be the first woman to be an indoor All-American in track and field and play in the NCAA basketball tournament in the same season.