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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Women’s Big East Notebook

From the first shot of the season, it seemed inevitable that Maya Moore, Tina Charles and the Connecticut Huskies would win the NCAA championship.

And so they did Tuesday night, rallying from a horrible first half to beat Stanford 53-47 for their 78th straight victory, stamping themselves as one of the most dominant teams ever — in their sport or any other, men’s or women’s.

Held to only five points through the first 12 minutes and trailing 20-12 at halftime, coach Geno Auriemma’s team bounced back and played like champs.

Moore, the game’s most outstanding player, scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help Auriemma win his seventh national championship, moving within one of Tennessee’s Pat Summit. He’s never lost in the title game.

The Huskies became the first team ever to record consecutive unbeaten seasons, but that doesn’t tell half the story.

They’ve been unstoppable over the past two years, winning every game by double figures until Tuesday night and passing their own NCAA women’s record of 70 straight wins set from 2001 to ’03 in early March.

The championship victory put them within 10 of the vaunted 88-game winning streak set by the UCLA men in the early 1970s.

Charles added nine points, 11 rebounds and six blocks for Connecticut in front of a crowd of 22,936 fans.

Stanford played a nearly flawless defensive first half, holding Connecticut to 12 points — its lowest ever in a championship game and the lowest in school history.

But then Moore and the Huskies took over.

Moore, Charles dominate second half

Connecticut opened the second half by scoring 17 of the first 19 points to take its first lead since early in the game. Moore had 11 points during the spurt, scoring from all over the court.

Her 3-pointer from the top of the key made it 23-22, giving Connecticut its first lead since it was 5-0. That ended a 19-minute stretch in which Connecticut was behind — the longest the Huskies had trailed this season.

The only time the Huskies were behind more than 10 minutes during this season was also against Stanford.

Moore followed up her 3-pointer with a sweet jumper and a layup on the break after Charles had blocked Nnemkadi Ogwumike on the other end.

JJ Hones’ 3-pointer with 11:46 left in the game cut the deficit to 29-25, but then Charles made her presence felt, scoring seven of the Huskies’ next nine points to make it 38-27 with 7:42 left.

Stanford would only get as close as five the rest of the way. Connecticut let the Cardinal close the gap late by making just 9-of-22 free throws.

This was the sixth time the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the final AP Top 25 poll met for the title. The last came in 2002 when Connecticut beat Oklahoma in San Antonio.

Huskies survive last scare, roll over Baylor

Connecticut was tested and threatened for one of the rare times during its streak in its national semifinal game against Baylor Sunday night. Moore had 34 points and 12 rebounds while Tina Charles added 21 points and 13 boards for the Huskies in the 70-50 win.

Baylor’s Brittney Griner wreaked havoc during parts of the game for Charles, finishing with 13 points and five blocks. But the Lady Bears had no answer for Moore.

Inside and out, the three-time All-American tormented Baylor, as evidenced by her final line.

Player of the week

Maya Moore, Connecticut, Jr., F

Moore continued her dominance of the women’s basketball scene with an enormous double-double when her team needed her most against Stanford. Moore finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds and was named the game’s most outstanding player. Moore also dropped in 34 points to go along with 12 rebounds in the Huskies win over Baylor in their national semifinal contest.

NCAA Tourney Stats

Points per game: 24.0

Rebounds per game: 8.3

Assists per game: 2.8

Field goal percentage: 58.2

Free throw percentage: 64.3

3-point percentage: 60.6

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