As the gap between top-tier programs and mid-majors lessens each season on the men's side, there's still a clear delineation between the haves and have-nots in women's basketball. Geno Auriemma's team played Wednesday night, and for the ninth consecutive game the Huskies won by at least 19 points. The final against Syracuse, their most recent opponent: 95-54.
UConn's lone senior, Tiffany Hayes, scored 35 points, going 11 for 15 from the floor, 7 of 7 from the line and drained 6 of 8 3-pointers (which equaled a career high).
"She's really in a good place right now - physically, mentally," Auriemma said. "Tonight was probably a perfect example of all the things Tiffany can do on any given night. She used to have nights like this when she was a freshman, but since then she's struggled a little bit to find herself, find her game. Tonight was kind of, `Here I am, this is what I do. I'm a senior.'
"I was really, really happy for her. I hope there's a lot more of these before she graduates."
Hayes called it "a good day," adding "I was struggling at the shoot-around [Wednesday morning], but during the game I was able to focus better and most of the shots went in. …When they were going down, I just kept shooting."
The No. 3 Huskies are now 18-2 on the season (7-1 in the Big East) and even when they're not playing their best basketball they find a way to cruise to victory. And these aren't exhibition games against clearly overmatched teams. We're talking about defending national champs (they beat Texas A&M, 81-51 in December), top-25 schools (UNC was overmatched, 86-35 last week), and conference opponents not named Notre Dame.
The Orange hung tough for 20 minutes, trailing 40-33 at the break, but Huskies depth and skill eventually proved to be too much.
"We came out and knew they were going to make a run and they did," Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said. "We just didn't answer. We just can't come out in the second half and not score."
Guard Caroline Doty didn't play because of a bone bruise on her right knee, but her backcourt mates picked up the slack. Freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 19 points and Bria Hartley added 18.
The Huskies play again Saturday when they host USF at the XL Center.