UConn road possibly full of Big East foes

March, 22, 2011

Connecticut's mastery of the Big East has also extended to the NCAA tournament for the past decade. Only three fellow Big East teams have encountered the Huskies in the Big Dance in that period, and all of them have lost. The last time a league school beat UConn in NCAA play was in 2001, when Notre Dame won in a national semifinal matchup in St. Louis.

Tuesday, as the UConn fans at Gampel Pavilion said goodbye to Maya Moore and Lorin Dixon, the Huskies did exactly what they were expected to do: Never give Purdue a chance. The No. 1 seed Huskies defeated the No. 9 Boilermakers 64-40, and now their attention turns back to … the Big East.

Because next up is fifth-seeded Georgetown in the Philadelphia Regional semifinals. And there's a possibility that the Huskies could also face a Big East team in the regional final (No. 3 DePaul) and the national semifinals (Dayton No. 2 Notre Dame).

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Tiffany Hayes
David Butler II/US PresswireTiffany Hayes had a team-high 23 points on 7-for-14 shooting, including a trio of 3-pointers, for UConn.

UConn has not lost to a Big East foe since Feb. 5, 2007, when the Huskies fell 73-71 at Rutgers. The Huskies' record in league play since 2005-06 is 93-3.

That's an absurd number, but we've pretty much gotten used to that from UConn. Moore and Dixon were 40-0 at Gampel Pavilion as Huskies; they've lost a grand total of three games in their UConn careers.

But might it be a Big East team, though, that keeps them from a third consecutive NCAA title?

Georgetown has done a reasonable job of competing with the Huskies in their two meetings this season. Feb. 26 at Georgetown, UConn won 52-42. Then March 6 at the Big East tournament in Hartford, Conn., the Huskies prevailed 59-43.

Moore had 20 points in the first meeting, but just six in the second on 2-of-12 shooting. That didn't hurt the Huskies, as freshman Stefanie Dolson stepped forward with 24 points. And it's not as if Moore didn't contribute; she had 15 rebounds.

Tuesday, as she said goodbye to Gampel, Moore had 16 points and 13 rebounds. If there is something for UConn fans to perhaps worry about, it's that Moore was 10-of-26 from the field in the last two games.

But Moore has not had to go to a higher gear in this tournament yet. Georgetown, in Round 3, might require her to do that.

Mechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women's college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women's basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.



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