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Hayes, Charles help UConn close to within seven games of record

CHICAGO -- Geno Auriemma insists Connecticut's latest winning streak is only part of what the talented Huskies are trying to accomplish.

"We didn't come out to play the streak or anything else. My kids have been loose, having fun and enjoying themselves. I don't think they concerned themselves with the streak," Auriemma said Wednesday night after the top-ranked Huskies routed DePaul 95-62 for their 63rd straight victory.

"I've already been down this road," said Auriemma, whose teams from 2001-2003 won 70 straight. "I try not to get involved in any of that stuff. I'm actually waiting for the loss. I told the team I don't care if we have one loss or 10 losses as long as it's not the last game of the year."

Tiffany Hayes and Tina Charles scored 19 points apiece in a balanced scoring attack and UConn's defense forced 25 turnovers.

The Huskies (24-0, 11-0 Big East) used a late spurt to build a 20-point halftime lead and then went on an 11-1 run to open the second. All of Connecticut's wins during its streak have been by double digits.

Hayes hit a long 3-pointer at the first half buzzer and then started the second half with another 3. And when Charles scored six straight points, the Huskies opened up a 30-point cushion early in the second half. They led by as many as 38 in the second half.

Maya Moore added 14 points for UConn.

"You can't give this team opportunities," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "I thought we kept them relatively UConn run-free in the first half and we're still chasing 17. You don't want the disaster of that '3' going down to give them a 20-point lead."

DePaul (16-9, 5-6) hung tough for most of the first half, but didn't have the talent to stay with the Huskies and was hurt by 25 turnovers -- 14 in the opening half. Sam Quigley led the Blue Demons with 15 points.

Connecticut had an early 12-0 run but couldn't deliver a knockout punch against the hustling Blue Demons until the final minute of the opening half.

DePaul was still within nine when Keisha Hampton sank a jumper with 4:44 left.

But in the final 1:11, Hayes drove for a basket, Moore hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key and then Hayes delivered a crusher to DePaul. She launched a 25-footer that swished through the basket as the buzzer sounded, giving the Huskies a 52-32 halftime lead.

"I didn't know how much time. I heard a couple of my teammate screaming at me to shoot the ball, shoot the ball," Hayes said.

"I looked at the clock and thought it was running out. I just set my feet and shot a ball and it went in."

And with it pretty much went DePaul's chances of playing a closer game.

"Instead of driving it in for a layup she has to throw it in," Auriemma said. "One of those days."

Hayes had 16 first-half points, shooting 6 for 8. She finished 7 for 10.