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Huskies wrap up share of Big East regular-season title

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Maya Moore can sing, too.

Connecticut's sophomore star scored 18 points, had seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocked shots to help Connecticut rout Seton Hall 81-50 on Saturday and clinch the Big East's regular-season title.

But the highlight of the night came when she performed the national anthem, in a harmonizing duet with junior forward Kaili McLaren.

"She's become a well-rounded person," joked coach Geno Auriemma. "She sings, plays the drums, juggles, and she's getting better at switching on defense."

Tina Charles added 16 points and seven rebounds for UConn, which put five players in double figures for the 13th time this season.

UConn has now won at least a share of 17 regular-season conference crowns, and three in a row.

"It means a lot," said Charles. "It shows our hard work and determination. It is the same focus that we have had all season."

Renee Montgomery had a little problem with her focus in her final home game. The senior missed her first nine shots from the field, but still finished with 14 points, all in the second half. Tiffany Hayes and Kalana Greene each had 10 points.

Kandice Green led Seton Hall (15-13, 3-12) with 10 points. The Pirates have lost six straight games to fall into last place in the conference.

The Huskies (29-0, 15-0) have 39 consecutive home wins. They need only a victory at Rutgers Monday night to complete the third undefeated regular season in the program's history, and their seventh undefeated season in the Big East.

"I think this season is just working out exactly how it should," Montgomery said. "It's going to be a battle to finish off the season the way we want to finish it."

The Huskies got off to a slow start, using a lineup that included little-used seniors Tahirah Williams and Cassie Kearns. A 3-pointer by Jadis Rhodin gave the Pirates a 5-2 lead early.

Moore entered the game a short time later and the Huskies went on a 21-0 run. The first of her back-to-back 3-pointers made it 8-5 just over five minutes into the game, and UConn did not trail again.

Seton Hall hit 4-of-10 from 3-point range in the first half, but was still behind 44-22 at intermission.

UConn extended the lead in the second half. A 3-pointer from Hayes gave the Huskies a 64-33 lead with just over 12 minutes left. The Huskies held Seton Hall to 27 percent shooting, but were outrebounded by the Pirates 40-38.

"We didn't finish plays," Seton Hall coach Phyllis Mangina said. "We had a lot of opportunities to finish plays, but at least we rebounded the ball again. I feel better about that. If we rebound the ball, then we have a chance to beat people going into the tournament."

Connecticut has now won 25 consecutive games over Seton Hall dating back to 1994. The win was the Huskies' 111th straight against an unranked opponent.

Moore said the game was much easier than the pregame ceremonies. She hadn't sung in public since she was about 4-years-old in church, and said she had more butterflies than she's ever had before a basketball game.

"We didn't really want to do it, but we said we were going to do it and it turned out great," Moore said. "I just ran, said, 'Home of the Brave,' and I just darted toward the girls and they just tackled us. It was a great feeling."