Connecticut matches Washington University’s mark with 81st straight win
Monday, November 22, 2010
ATLANTA (AP) — Maya Moore wanted to treat it like just another game, and for the most part it was. Another outstanding performance. Another Connecticut win.
Moore didn’t truly savor her homecoming until she finally came off the court with less than a minute to go.
Looking up and all those family and friends, she clapped for them.
Moore scored 30 points in her return to Atlanta, leading top-ranked UConn to its 81st consecutive victory with a 71-51 rout of Georgia Tech on Sunday. The Huskies (3-0) tied Washington University, an NCAA Division III school in St. Louis, for the most consecutive wins by a woman’s program at any level.
“I felt their support,” said Moore, back in the city where she developed her marvelous game. “It’s always good to know you have fans all over the country, but especially to be back here in Georgia. This was familiar territory. It felt good.”
Growing up, the three-time All-American played in gyms around Atlanta and came to national prominence as a star at suburban Collins Hill High School.
When it came time to pick a college, Moore headed north to join the powerhouse of women’s college basketball. But UConn coach Geno Auriemma made sure to schedule a home-andhome series with Georgia Tech, allowing Moore to show off for the home folks her senior year.
They came out in droves for the game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, giving the Yellow Jackets the largest women’s crowd (7,325) in school history.
“I didn’t get a chance to see any of my family before the game, but knowing they were there, my family and friends, and they came out to support my team, that means the world to me,” Moore said. “It was kind of surreal.”
Coming off a one-point win over No. 2 Baylor, the Huskies had a much easier time against Georgia Tech (3-2). They took control with a 14-0 run midway through the first half, led 41-23 at halftime and were never seriously threatened over the final 20 minutes.
Washington University won 81 in a row from 1998-2001. UConn should break the mark against Howard on Friday, then set off toward the next milestone: UCLA’s 88-game winning streak during the 1970s, the longest by a men’s program.
“I’ve not really thought of it in those terms,” Auriemma said. “I’m using the streak right now in my own mind as the greatest thing to ever happen for the next team we play. What number it is, I don’t know. It’s Georgia Tech for me.”
Tyaunna Marshall led Georgia Tech with 23 points, but the home team couldn’t overcome 35 percent shooting (19-of-55) and a staggering 24 turnovers — 16 in the first half.
“I’m sure Georgia Tech was praying we would beat Baylor,” Auriemma said. “They didn’t want us coming down here with one loss. Everyone wants to be the one that does it.”
Moore played all but the final 58.3 seconds, coming out to one last standing ovation. She slapped hands with each of her teammates, then applauded toward the stands.
The 6-foot forward finished 13-of-26 from the field, grabbed eight rebounds, doled out four assists, plus had two steals and two blocks.
“I thought Maya Moore showed why she’s the best player in college basketball,” Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. “She puts that team on her back and carries them. She makes big plays at the right time. She played 39 minutes and she played hard for 39 minutes. She was making plays almost right to the final buzzer.”