By Colin McDonough, Senior Staff Writer
The student section chanted “overrated,” Gampel Pavilion’s crowd of 10,031 stayed on its feet to give the No. 2 UConn women’s basketball team an ovation after it had built up a 30-point lead over No. 3 Duke. And all of that happened before the buzzer sounded for halftime.
The Huskies began the game on a 21-2 run and the Blue Devils could not overcome a 26-point halftime deficit. Duke was handed its first loss of the season as UConn improved to 21-1 with the 87-51 win.
Maya Moore finished the game with 29 points and outscored the Blue Devils 16-15 by herself in the first half. Tiffany Hayes added 20 points while Kelly Farris pitched in 14. The Huskies’ backbreaking run to bury Duke really ended the game before the first half ended.
“We talked a lot going into the game about how physical they played us last year and how we needed to set the tone right away, those first five minutes of how we wanted the game to go,” said coach Geno Auriemma. “You talk about all those things and whether it happens are a totally different story. I was as surprised as anyone else probably.”
The Blue Devils fell to 20-1 and coach Joanne McCallie was disappointed with her team’s effort and their inability to respond to UConn and a near sellout at Gampel Pavilion.
“It’s just a great place for women’s basketball,” McCallie said. “I didn’t think it was exceptionally loud this way. There’s no doubt about the run, some great shooting from UConn but I thought Connecticut came out punching and we just took a step back.”