Moore Leads Huskies Over Rutgers

UConn Improves to 22-0

For the past few seasons Rutgers has been the one Big East opponent to give Connecticut fits.

Now the Scarlet Knights are just another blowout win for the top-ranked Huskies.

Maya Moore scored 24 points and Kalana Greene added a season-high 17 to help Connecticut beat Rutgers 75-56 on Tuesday night.

"I said going into the game it's going to be played like a Big East final no matter what their record is and our record is," Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said.

Connecticut (22-0, 8-0 Big East) has run over its opponents winning by an average of 33 points. The Huskies have blown out No. 2 Oklahoma, dismantled then-No. 2 North Carolina, and routed No. 5 Louisville. No team has come within single digits of UConn.

UConn is 22-0 for the first time since 2002-03 when the Huskies won their first 31 games before losing to Villanova in the Big East tournament. Connecticut was 21-0 last season before falling to Rutgers on Feb. 5. It was the Huskies' lone blemish before falling to Stanford in the Final Four.

Epiphanny Prince scored 19 points and Khadijah Rushdan added a career-high 18 to lead Rutgers (12-8, 4-5), which has five conference losses for the first time since 2003-04.

"We're not that good right now," Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said. "We need to work hard. For us to be able to compete we have to pay attention to the little things."

Rutgers has been the one team in the Big East to cause Connecticut problems over the last few seasons, splitting the last 10 meetings. UConn has won 56 straight conference games against opponents other than Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights won the conference's regular season title in 2006, the tournament championship in 2007, and split with UConn in the two regular season games last season.

Rutgers was beating Connecticut by 14 points in the NCAA regional finals last year before falling apart.

This season the Scarlet Knights have struggled for consistency. They fell out of the Top 25 last week for the first time in two years. Four days after easily handling then-No. 17 Notre Dame, Rutgers lost to lowly South Florida.

Rutgers gave UConn all it could handle until the Huskies opened the second half with a 14-4 run to take control.

"It was back and forth there for a minute and then we just kind of took it away," said Moore, who added 10 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season. "You've got to be patient. You can't get anxious or frustrated. Get stops and rebounds and then go to the other end."

Tiffany Hayes hit two 3-pointers, the second of which bounced high off the rim before dropping in, to extend the lead to 44-30. Renee Montgomery capped the spurt with a jumper in the lane that made it 48-32.

"The first 5 minutes of the second half set the tone for the entire second half," Montgomery said. "We got a lot of quick buckets, our defense got a lot steals, that just set the tone for the rest of the half."

Rutgers could get no closer than 14 points the rest of the game as the lead ballooned to as many as 20.

Montgomery finished with 15 points and Hayes added 13 for the Huskies, who have won 30 straight regular season games.

UConn took an 11-point lead midway through the first half and was poised for another early blowout as Montgomery scored seven straight points -- the last two on a floater down the lane that made it 22-11.

But the Scarlet Knights stormed right back behind center Kia Vaughn. She scored eight points as Rutgers went on an 11-0 run to tie the game at 22. Vaughn hadn't started the last three games as Stringer was disappointed with her inconsistent play all season.

She played an inspired first half coming off the bench, igniting the burst with a sweeping drive from the foul line and capped it with a layup.

"Kia stepped up big time," Prince said. "She started hitting her shots and I think that's going to be good for our confidence level."

Connecticut was held scoreless for nearly 5 minutes until Montgomery hit a baseline jumper to end the drought.

UConn took a 34-28 halftime lead. It matched the Huskies' lowest first half total of the season.

"We kind of struggled in the first half after we got a little bit of a lead," Auriemma said. "They aren't easy to play against."

Connecticut leads the all-time series 23-6, including 14-1 at home.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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