HARTFORD, Conn. – The top-ranked Connecticut Huskies made women’s college basketball history Monday night — not that you would have known it by watching them.

Tina Charles scored 16 points and Maya Moore added 11 to help UConn win an NCAA record 71st straight game, a 59-44 victory over No. 6 Notre Dame in the semifinals of the Big East tournament.

The Huskies didn’t gloat, though. They didn’t even celebrate. It was just another night’s work for Coach Geno Auriemma’s latest dynasty.

At the final horn they just shook hands with the Irish — the way they have with opponents after nearly every other game during their incredible streak.

“I can’t think anything is more important than winning and playing in the Big East championship for these kids,” Auriemma said.

UConn surpassed its own mark set from Nov. 9, 2001, to March 11, 2003. Unlike that amazing run, which ended with a loss in the Big East conference tournament semifinals to Villanova, this Huskies team has thoroughly dominated its opponents in every game, winning all of them by double digits.

“After the season, the last game we play we can look back and see what we’ve done,” said Kalana Greene, who scored 15 points.

“You don’t want to celebrate about wins. We don’t plan on our season being over any time soon.”

The Huskies are focused on bigger goals — not just winning a 16th Big East conference championship, but also a seventh national title. Connecticut (32-0) will face ninth-ranked West Virginia tonight.

Even top teams haven’t posed much of a challenge for the Huskies since they beat Georgia Tech to start this run on Nov. 16, 2008.

With Monday’s win over Notre Dame (27-5), UConn improved to 13-0 against top-10 opponents, winning by an average of 26.2 points. Even second-ranked Stanford lost by 12 when the teams met in late December.

UConn has rarely trailed during its streak. The Huskies have been behind for a total 86 minutes in the 71 games. It’s been even more uncommon for UConn to be down in the second half — only facing a deficit three times after intermission. None of those scares lasted long. There hasn’t been a need for any late-game rallies or last-second shots.

Notre Dame kept this one close for a half.

UConn only led 25-22 at the break — its lowest scoring output in nearly three years. The Huskies then asserted themselves, led be Greene.

The senior hit just one of eight shots in the first 20 minutes, but she scored the first four points of a decisive 13-4 run that gave UConn a 49-35 lead with 9:00 left. Moore’s deep 3-pointer capped the spurt.

Connecticut’s mood was tempered when starting guard Caroline Doty caught an elbow from Ashley Barlow in the head with a minute left. She was on the ground with the training staff huddled around her for a few minutes before she woozily got up.

“She may have a concussion, we’re not sure,” Auriemma said. “We’ll evaluate her. If she has a concussion, she’s not playing tomorrow.”

Connecticut had already beaten the Irish twice during the regular season — including a 25-point win in South Bend seven days ago. But Notre Dame teams have a history of ending notable winning streaks.

Notre Dame stopped Oklahoma’s 47-game winning streak in football in the 1950s, UCLA’s 88-game winning streak in men’s basketball in the 1970s and North Carolina’s 92-game winning streak in women’s soccer in the 1990s.

Three of Notre Dame’s five losses this season have come against UConn.


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