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Charles' double-double helps UConn drop Marquette, extend streak

MILWAUKEE -- Connecticut is only chasing itself.

Tina Charles scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, leading the top-ranked Huskies to a 68-43 win over Marquette for their 55th straight victory Wednesday night to extend the second-longest winning streak in women's NCAA history.

UConn also holds the longest women's winning streak with 70 games set in 2001-03.

"I'm surprised that we've been able to do it. I'm amazed that we've been able to do it twice, that we can sustain this kind of effort day in and day out through injuries or fouls or bad games," Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. "We just keep finding ways to win."

Kalana Greene scored 15 points and the Huskies (16-0, 4-0 Big East) passed Louisiana Tech's 54-game winning streak from 1980-82.

"There's just, I hope, a culture that we have at Connecticut that we expect to win every game. It doesn't mean we're going to win every game, but we expect to win every game," an unusually reflective Auriemma said. "These kids wrote their names in the history book tonight, so I'm proud of them, I'm happy for them. It's something if we lose every game from here on in, nobody will ever be able to take it away from them."

These Huskies extended the latest streak largely without Maya Moore, the reigning player of the year who had the lowest scoring game of her collegiate career.

Moore scored four points on 2-of-10 shooting and picked up three fouls early before getting her fourth with 15:59 left. She also had seven rebounds.

"She dominated the defensive end of the floor even though she wasn't scoring any points on the other end," Auriemma said. "For someone who is used to scoring big, that's a good thing to know that she can do that. And I talked to her about that after the game."

The Huskies didn't have a field goal in the final 10 minutes against Marquette (11-6, 2-2) and Auriemma decided to take two shot clock violations in closing minutes instead of running the offense.

"I just didn't want anybody to get hurt, so I figured that was the safest way," Auriemma said. "I wasn't happy with the way it was played, I wasn't happy with the way it was officiated, I wasn't happy with anything. So I figured why come down and get whacked again."

Without Moore's offense, Greene and Charles more than made up for it as the Huskies started the season 16-0 for the third straight year.

Connecticut might get a real test on Saturday when it hosts No. 3 Notre Dame, but the Huskies already have wins over top 10 teams Stanford (by 12) and North Carolina (by 41) and have won every game in the streak by double figures.

"The last game we play at the end of the season, a lot of us are going to look back and say, 'This is what we did," Greene said. "But right now, we can't look too far in the future. The only thing we're looking forward to now is Notre Dame."

Moore picked up her third foul with 11:44 left in the first half.

It hardly mattered.

The Huskies, using mostly their bench, went on a 15-0 run to make it 35-12, led 44-20 at halftime and by as many as 35 the rest of the way.

"We saw [Moore] on the bench and it was like, 'All right, this is our opportunity,'" Marquette coach Terri Mitchell said. "We were physical, but they have the horses, and they just have one after the other that is coming in and going after us."

Marquette, which won the Women's NIT championship in 2008, got a career-high 16 points from Tatiyiana McMorris, but only led 2-0 because the Huskies forced 24 turnovers. Marquette's leading scorer, Angel Robinson, went scoreless, missing all 12 of her shots.

Far away from home, the Huskies even had supporters in Marquette's student section.

One fan held a poster with a heart drawn around "Geno" and Auriemma chuckled while talking to the students before tip. Once the game started, though, Connecticut's play was nothing to joke about for the 55th straight time.

"[We] don't think about the winning streak. The only time we hear about it is when people bring it up," Greene said. "You can't get too caught up in that -- because that's when things can crumble."