Sunday, February 2, 2003

Women: UConn blasts No. 1 Duke

Huskies win 59th straight

The Associated Press

Connecticut's Diana Taurasi, left, hugs Duke's Alana Beard after the game. Taurasi and Beard are considered two of the top players in women's hoops.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
DURHAM, N.C. - Diana Taurasi and second-ranked Connecticut breezed to their record 59th straight victory, easily defeating top-rated Duke 77-65 Saturday.

"I know our defense is good, but it was better than good in the first half," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "That's about as good as we have ever played - this group anyway."

Taurasi and Ann Strother each scored 17 points each for the Huskies (20-0), who closed the first half with a 15-0 run.

But the win, in front of a sellout crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium, didn't come without a scare after UConn built its lead to 28 points in the second half.

Duke (20-1) used a 30-11 run to get back into the game and twice cut UConn's lead to nine points before the Huskies went 11-for-12 from the foul line over the final 1:58 to clinch the win.

UConn's winning streak is the best in women's basketball history and third-best all time, trailing the UCLA men's 88 in a row from 1971-74 and the San Francisco men's 60 straight from 1955-57.

Duke All-American Alana Beard, who came into the game averaging 23.5 points a game, had just nine points with 10 minutes remaining but finished with 26.

Connecticut's inside players dominated and the Huskies held the Blue Devils to 33.3 percent shooting.

Twelve of the Huskies' 18 first-half baskets came on layups or follows. The Blue Devils missed 25 of 32 shots and had 10 turnovers in the first half and trailed 41-20 at the break.

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