Jan. 3, 2009

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -Top-ranked Connecticut led LSU by two points in the second half Saturday when Renee Montgomery decided to take over.

UConn's point guard scored 10 of her 21 points, dished out three assists and added a steal during an 18-3 run that helped UConn to a 76-63 win over the Lady Tigers in a matchup of teams that reached the Final Four last season.

"I can sense it," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "When you see it in her eyes and you see the way she's moving on the floor, we just want to get a quick screen on the ball, and its really hard for them to keep her from getting a three or that little 17-footer."

Maya Moore added 17 points and 13 rebounds for UConn (13-0), and Tina Charles chipped in 16 points and six rebounds. Five Huskies scored in double figures.

Junior guard Allison Hightower led the Tigers with 14 points, her sixth consecutive double-figure game. Lasondra Barrett, one of three freshmen to start for the Tigers, added 13.

UConn returned four starters from a year ago. LSU (6-5) lost five seniors, including All-American Sylvia Fowles, and 85 percent of its offense.

"We showed a lot of heart out there and we didn't give up," Hightower said. "We've just got to keep getting better, going to practice, just keep working hard because we've go a lot of potential."

With the score tied at 26, UConn went on a 15-7 run and never trailed again. Moore had 15 of her points in the first half, helping the Huskies overcome a 4-for-16 effort from 3-point range to lead 41-33 at halftime.

The Lady Tigers went on a 10-4 spurt to start the second half, cutting the lead to 45-43, before UConn made its big run.

LSU came in having won five of its last six games.

"I thought LSU was pretty good today," said Tigers' coach Van Chancellor. "This wasn't one of those games where they were up 40 and he subbed and we made a little game at the end. We made a game all the way through."

Hightower fouled out with 6:29 to play and LSU trailing 65-52, and Barrett joined her on the bench two minutes later.

Montgomery had six assists and joined Diana Taurasi and Jen Rizzotti as the only UConn players to score 1,500 points and dish out 500 assists during their careers.

"I think I like the assists better, just because it gets someone else involved and I still get excited about it," Montgomery said. "Then somebody else is involved in
Connecticut has won 31 consecutive regular-season home games and 99 consecutive games against unranked opponents. This season, the Huskies have won all 13 of their games by double figures, including six wins by 40 points or more.