Feb. 7, 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -Tina Charles had 20 points and nine rebounds as No. 1 Connecticut breezed by Louisville 84-38 Sunday in a rematch of last year's national championship game.

The victory was UConn's 62nd in a row, extending the second-longest streak ever in women's NCAA Division I basketball, trailing only the 2001-03 Huskies' mark of 70 straight.

Charles was the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, when UConn won its sixth national championship against Louisville last spring. She reached double-digit scoring for her 14th straight game, breaking her personal best set last year.

Maya Moore added 16 points and Caroline Doty had 11 for the Huskies, while Keshia Hines led Louisville with nine points.

The Huskies never trailed and put away the Cardinals early with two extended scoring runs that lasted most of the first half and early into the second. UConn was especially good from beyond the arc, hitting more first-half 3-pointers (8) than Louisville had field goals (7).

Louisville cut the lead to 11-9 a few minutes in after a three-point play by Asia Taylor, but that's when UConn went on its first scoring barrage. The 22-2 run was highlighted by a dazzling steal and fastbreak layup by Moore.

After Hines stopped the momentum by scoring the game's next five points, UConn closed the first half and began the second on a 29-2 run. Louisville didn't score for 8 minutes, until freshman walk-on Shelby Harper hit a 3 to make it 61-21 with 16 minutes left in the game.

Connecticut led 54-18 at halftime, the 10th time scoring 50 or more in a half this season.

While the Cardinals started sluggishly, hitting just one of their first six shot, all five UConn starters scored within the first 5 minutes.

Not only has UConn won 62 straight, it has barely been tested, winning each of those games by double figures. Other than their game against Stanford on Dec. 23, the Huskies have trailed fewer than four minutes total over that stretch.

The Louisville team that lost to UConn on Sunday was a far cry from the one that fell to the Huskies in last year's national title game. Angel McCoughtry graduated to the WNBA, and key injuries have depleted the Cardinals of much of their depth - especially in the backcourt.

Point guard Deseree Byrd sustained a season-ending knee injury in December and fellow starting guard Nikki Burton has missed five straight games with a groin injury.

Backup LaToya Johnson just returned to the court this month after missing eight week weeks with a stress reaction in her hip, forcing Harper into a starting role.