Greene leads No. 1 UConn to 16th Big East title

By DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)—UConn finally celebrated—just a little bit.

The top-ranked Huskies danced and cheered after they cruised to their 72nd straight win and 16th Big East tournament championship with a 60-32 victory over No. 9 West Virginia on Tuesday night.

It was a much more festive atmosphere than the night before when they broke their own NCAA record for consecutive wins.

“We had a lot of minature goals during the entire season,” said Kalana Greene, who scored 15 points and earned most outstanding player honors of the tournament. “Every championship that’s thrown at us we want to win it. The streak can be thrown at us and if we don’t win the Big East championship it doesn’t mean anything.”

The next challenge—if anything can truly be called a challenge for these Huskies—is the NCAA tournament. With six more victories, UConn will have its second consecutive national title and seventh overall.

Greene made her first seven shots and grabbed 12 rebounds. She provided the same offensive spark she’s been giving the Huskies all season.

“I thought all year long Kalana’s been really consistent,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “Whether it’s a defensive spurt, offensive spurt, or rebounding.”

The Huskies have won five of the last six conference tournament titles and enter the NCAAs unbeaten for the fifth time in school history. UConn went on to win the national championship in 1995, 2002, and 2009. In 1996-97 they lost to Tennessee in the regional final. In all, 11 teams have gone through the regular season unbeaten with five of them winning the national title.

UConn (33-0) stands six wins short of becoming the first team to go through consecutive seasons unbeaten. The Huskies won 71 straight games from Nov. 9, 2001, to March 11, 2003.

The Huskies, who have won both the regular season and conference tournament title the last three years and 14 times in school history, held West Virginia to the lowest total in a Big East championship game.

“If you can hold Connecticut to 60 points with all the players they have you should be in the game,” West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. “We struggled to score.”

With All-Americans Maya Moore and Tina Charles having off-games, Greene and Tiffany Hayes carried the offense. Hayes finished with 15 points. Charles had 12 and Moore 10, but they combined to make just three of their first 22 shots.

Photo by: Bob Child/AP Photo

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