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UConn Women Improves To 23-0; Defeats Louisville, 84-38

By now it's clear the

UConn women

do not play normal games that follow familiar scripts.

Truth is, they play games that are caricatures, the features super-sized, exaggerated, larger-than-life. You almost need 3-D glasses to watch them play.

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It's basketball, certainly, played by the customary rules. But it's a much different brand than everyone else seems to be playing, particularly in the Big East.

On Sunday, the top-ranked Huskies (23-0, 10-0) didn't just beat Louisville, 84-38, they discombobulated a proud, competent program. Just 10 months ago, albeit in a much different form, the Cardinals played the Huskies for the national championship.

This time, there was no Angel McCoughtry, no Candyce Bingham and no Deseree Byrd. Oh yes, this time things were very different.

"I guess it's the same way for people that play us and don't see Renee Montgomery out there,"

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UConn
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center

Tina Charles

said. "But we go out to show we can still play Connecticut basketball without her."

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Charles had 20 points and nine rebounds before 14,324 at Freedom Hall, leading the defending national champions to their 62nd consecutive victory.

Maya Moore

(16 points) and

Caroline Doty

(11) did all of their scoring in the first half, when UConn hit more three-pointers (eight) than Louisville had field goals (seven). The Huskies' lead at halftime was 54-18.

"It felt really good," said Doty, who shot 4-for-5, including 3-for-3 on three-pointers. "Having the post players come down and set those screens for me helps. I give them props. They let me decide what I needed to do off the screens, and they were going in today."

Lorin Dixon

, who is 5 feet 4, had a career-high 10 rebounds.

"I just decided to attack the boards today and try to help out the post players a little," Dixon said.

Keshia Hines led Louisville (11-12, 3-7) with nine points. But sophomore guard Monique Reid was held to six points in 31 minutes (1-for-11), though she did have 10 rebounds.

And it could have been worse. Moore played only 25 minutes, Charles 21 and Doty 20.

"We have a lot of work to do, and I'm not sure we're going to be healthy enough to do what's needed before the end of the year," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said.

UConn shot 57.1 percent in the first half (20--for-35), making 8 of 13 threes. All five starters had a field goal in the first five minutes.

The Cardinals committed 15 turnovers in the half, and UConn turned those into 20 points. Louisville had five turnovers in the second half.

As usual, large UConn runs sucked the life from Louisville.

The first (22-2) catapulted the Huskies from an 11-9 lead with 16:12 remaining in the half to 33-11 with 7:57 to play.

"It kind of sets up what we like to do in the rest of the game," coach

Geno Auriemma

said. "We're not out there just trying to score more points. We're trying to play in a way that makes what our opponent likes to do difficult to do."

The second run (21-2) took the game from 33-16 to the 36-point halftime bulge.

It has been a very difficult season for the Cardinals, one fraught with injuries in addition to the

NCAA

ruling that took away the final semester of eligibility of senior center Chauntise Wright.

Walz has tried to keep his team together, although he has needed a freshman walk-on point guard (Shelby Harper) and the return of senior guard Brandie Radde from intensive studies - designed to get her to medical school - just to field a backcourt.

The second half was played predominantly by UConn's bench.

Meghan Gardler

and

Heather Buck

got large chunks of the minutes Moore and Charles had in the first.

Jacquie Fernandes

subbed for

Kalana Greene

with 8:45 to play, ending Greene's string of double-digit scoring games at eight.

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