7:00 PM ET, December 2, 2010
TAMPA, Fla. -- Maya Moore never got into an offensive rhythm. Tiffany Hayes struggled shooting the ball, too.Not to worry, top-ranked Connecticut kept rolling toward that record without stellar performances from its top two scorers.Freshman Stefanie Dolson scored 16 points -- more than twice her season average -- and the Huskies moved a step closer to the longest Division I winning streak in college basketball history by beginning Big East play with an 80-54 rout of South Florida on Thursday night.Another freshman, Bria Hartley, came off the bench to score 13 and help take up the slack. Moore and Hayes combined for 26 points on 3-of-17 shooting from the field."The team that's going to beat them ... UConn is going to have to beat themselves a little bit, either by turning the ball over or shooting poorly. ... They have won this many games for a reason," South Florida coach Jose Fernandez said."Maya Moore is a very good player. I think she's the best player in the country and one of the top three in the world," he added. "From 2 to 14, there's a lot of teams in this country that have just as good or better players. But the big key is how Connecticut practices, how they're prepared."The two-time defending national champions never trailed, scoring the first 12 points of the game and building a 22-2 lead before USF (5-3, 0-1) finally made its first field goal with just more than nine minutes left in the opening half.The Huskies (7-0, 1-0) extended the longest winning streak by a women's team to 85 games -- three shy of the men's record set by UCLA from 1971-74. UConn can surpass that mark by defeating Sacred Heart, Marquette, No. 6 Ohio State and Florida State (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) over the next three weeks.Moore scored 14 for UConn, moving within nine points of passing Tina Charles to become the Huskies' career scoring leader. The three-time All-American missed seven of the eight shots she took from the field but went 11 for 12 from the foul line and had a team-high six assists while boosting her career scoring total to 2,338 points.She can become the all-time leader at home Sunday against Sacred Heart."It's great for the fans," Moore said when asked what it would mean to break the scoring record at home. "They really support everything we do, and they'd love to have a chance to celebrate that. It's mainly for them."Dolson, averaging 7.3 points through UConn's first six games, made six of eight shots from the field and all four of her free throws. Kelly Faris scored 13 points and Hayes, playing before family from her nearby hometown of Lakeland, added 12 on 2-of-9 shooting."If you're going to be a championship team, you have to win with your team -- not just one player," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said, adding that USF's game plan was to make it difficult for Moore to get off jump shots."There's not one player playing basketball that if you decided you wanted to take them out of the game, you couldn't do it. What you have to do is find alternative ways to be successful. ... I thought she had a pretty good game regardless, even though she shot the ball poorly," he said.Andrea Smith led South Florida with 20 points. Her twin sister, Andrell, added 15 for the Bulls, who shot 26 percent (8-of-31) from the field in the opening half and 30.6 percent (19-of-62) for the game.The Huskies shot 52 percent on the way to a 38-20 halftime lead. Moore was limited to four points in the opening half -- all free throws -- but Hartley came off the bench to make four of her first five shots to help Dolson lead UConn's game-opening surge."If you would have told me that at halftime Maya Moore would have four points and two fouls, I would have told you that the game would probably be a single-digit game and we would be within striking distance," Fernandez said. "But that was not the case."The closest South Florida got after falling behind by 20 was 14. UConn led by as many as 31 in the closing minutes.USF fell to 0-10 against UConn. Since losing by 14 at home in 2007, the Bulls have dropped their last four to the Huskies by an average of 38 points."A lot of people don't like the streak," Fernandez said. "But why should the kids be penalized? They've worked hard for it. ... I think it's good for our league."
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