No Room For Debate
Jan. 19, 2009
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Renee Montgomery scored 21 points to help the Huskies beat No. 2 North Carolina 88-58 on Monday night, dominating a matchup of unbeaten teams from start to finish.
Maya Moore had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Connecticut (18-0), which turned one of the most anticipated games of the season into a lopsided victory. Connecticut built a double-digit lead early in the game and led 46-30 at the break, then continued to steadily increase the gap.
Connecticut didn't need a huge day from Moore, who was coming off a 40-point performance against Syracuse on Saturday. Instead, the Huskies beat the Tar Heels' trapping defense for easy baskets and dominated the boards.
UConn shot 47 percent and took a 53-32 edge on the boards with 21 offensive rebounds.
Tina Charles added 17 points and 12 rebound for UConn, while Kalana Greene had 15. Lorin Dixon, who started in place of the injured Caroline Doty, had career-highs with 14 points and eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Connecticut hasn't played a game closer than 11 points all season and improved to 9-2 in games featuring the nation's top two teams. The Huskies also ended the Tar Heels' 31-game home winning streak and handed North Carolina its first nonconference home loss since falling to Oklahoma in January 2001, a span of 76 games.
It wasn't the kind of performance the Tar Heels were hoping for in a game they had circled on their schedule for the past month. They were playing in a 1-vs-2 game for the third time in four seasons and in front of a school-record crowd of 12,722 for a women's home game. But the Tar Heels never found any kind of offensive rhythm, shooting 37 percent and missing 16 of 20 3-pointers--a lack of scoring efficiency that prevented them from setting up their pressure defense in hopes of slowing the Huskies.
Connecticut turned away every push, most notably when the Tar Heels cut a 24-point deficit to 16 midway through the second half. The Tar Heels had pulled to 66-49 before fouling Charles, who missed the second free throw. But Moore got the offensive rebound and got it back to Charles, who scored and drew a foul for a three-point play that pushed the margin up to 70-49 with 9:13 left.
Italee Lucas scored 15 points to lead North Carolina, while Rashanda McCants added 13.