On a night when seniors Maya Moore and Lorin Dixon were honored before the game, the UConn women's team capped another great regular season with a 82-47 win over Syracuse. The Huskies, ranked No. 1 in the country, went undefeated in the Big East (16-0), lost just once all season (29-1), and are primed to add to their seven NCAA national championship trophies.
Unlike the two previous games that saw UConn start slow (including a season-high 23 turnovers against Georgetown on Saturday), they wasted little time against Syracuse. By halftime, the Huskies, shooting 61.3 percent from the floor, led 49-20.
"I was worried that you come out and try too hard early on, and I was worried that Maya [Moore] would come out and try too hard to be spectacular on Senior Night," head coach Geno Auriemma said after the game. "We were in a pretty good rhythm, a pretty good tempo for the most part."
By the time it was all over, UConn had won by 35 points. Maya Moore, the nation's best player -- and one of the best players in university history -- scored 23 points (to go along with 8 rebounds), and Tiffany Hayes added 18 more.
"If you try to put into words all the things that she's done, you're not going to be able to do it,'' Auriemma said of Moore. "I think, after all that's done, and you look beyond that it's probably the way she did it and how she carries herself, and what she's had to do this year has probably made it maybe a little more rewarding for her.''
Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman spoke frankly about UConn's success: "They shot 60 percent from the field and it felt like 80 percent. You have to give them a lot of credit. We came here to win and obviously we ran into a team that is very, very hot and a very, very good team. Geno does a great job of getting them ready to play, no matter who the opponent is. Their best players played very well tonight."
Moore agreed. "I'm just really happy of the way my team played. All of the stuff surrounding the game, I think you can enjoy it more when the actual game goes well. We played outstanding and it's kind of a mixed day because you want to play and be ready and focused for the game, but you want to enjoy all the emotions that come with having a senior night."
And now, four months after the season began, the Huskies have navigated through the Big East without a loss for a third consecutive year. It was also their 78th win in a row at home.
But the regular season is officially in the team's rear view; the Huskies begin the task of defending their conference title this Sunday at 2 p.m. when they will play in the quarterfinals at the XL Center.