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Charles scores 19 to lead UConn to rout of Villanova

STORRS, Conn. -- Tina Charles came up with a huge effort to help top-ranked Connecticut clinch at least a share of its 17th Big East regular season championship.

Charles scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds to lead top-ranked Connecticut past Villanova 74-47 on Tuesday night.

"I thought this was one of Tina's better games, in that she was somewhat consistent on both ends of the floor for longer stretches of time," Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said.

The Huskies (28-0, 14-0) can clinch the title outright Saturday with a victory over Seton Hall.

"We don't believe in ties. We want to outright win it," said Kalana Greene, who had 15 points for UConn. "So this is not like an incredible feat, tying for the big championships. We don't want to share it with anybody."

Renee Montgomery scored 17 points for UConn, which shot 42.4 percent from the field. The Huskies have won 110 consecutive games against non-ranked opponents and are 91-2 in their last 93 games at Gampel.

Tiffany Hayes had a team-high 12 rebounds and Maya Moore added 11 for the Huskies, who held a 53-31 advantage on the boards and held Villanova (17-11, 9-5) to 28 percent shooting.

UConn was coming off a 10-point win over Notre Dame, the smallest margin of victory for the Huskies this season.

"You said they only won by 10 [against Notre Dame]. They won, though," Villanova coach Harry Perretta said. "I'd like to only win by 10 against Notre Dame."

Montgomery scored 13 points and Charles had 10 to help UConn build a 39-21 lead at halftime. UConn had a 39-14 lead with a minute remaining in the first half, but Villanova scored the last seven points in the final 47 seconds and added the first four in the second half to cut the deficit to 14.

UConn answered with a 13-6 run, pushing the lead to 52-31 on Charles' third basket in the opening 6 minutes of the half.

The win came on the 11th anniversary of Nykesha Sales' pre-arranged basket that was orchestrated by Auriemma and Perretta that resulted in wide-spread criticism at two of the longest-tenured coaches in women's basketball.

"I would have did it again, if that's what you're asking me," Perretta said. "I always err on doing what I think is best for the kid. That's what my philosophy has been in coaching. If you take criticism for it, you've got to stand up for what you believe in at some point. That's what we thought was right. Whether it was or wasn't, that's what we thought was right."