STORRS, CT (January 18) Two sold out crowds
nationally-ranked teams ..tremendous competition
America watches on ESPN.
There have been many high-profile days in the history of University of Connecticut athletics, but Monday may top them all.
Both the mens and womens basketball teams are in action at the Hartford Civic Center before in pair of sold out games. The men's game will be broadcast on ESPN and the women's on ESPN2.
The womens team gets things rolling at 2:00 p.m. when it takes on Rutgers while the mens team plays the nightcap against Pittsburgh at 7:00 p.m. as part of Big Monday.
Husky fans around the country will get a full dose of UConn hoops and for those coming to the game in person, there should be a special buzz in downtown Hartford.
The womens team puts its 12-2 overall record and 3-1 BIG EAST mark on the line after posting a 69-61 win over Boston College Saturday in Hartford. UConn is ranked fourth in the country with the new polls coming out on Tuesday. Rutgers posted a 72-47 win over St. Johns on Saturday to put its record at 9-6 overall and 2-2 in the league. UConn is currently tied for second place in the conference standings, a half-game behind Miami, as each league school has already lost one conference game.
In the win over the Eagles, sophomore Barbara Turner led the way with 19 points, including an 11-for-11 performance from the free throw line. Ann Strother, Jessica Moore and Diana Taurasi all chipped in 12 points.
Taurasi continues to lead the Huskies in scoring at 18.6 points per game while Moore is the top rebounder at 6.6 per contest.
Rutgers is led by Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer, who is in her ninth season at Rutgers and 32nd overall. The leading scorer for the Scarlet Knights is Cappy Pondexter at 17.7 points per contest while Dawn McCullough averages 11.5 Shalicia Hurns is the leading rebounder at 7.4.
The UConn mens team looks to get back to its winning ways against Pittsburgh on Monday. UConn was ranked No. 1 in the country, but should fall slightly in the new polls after dropping a tough 86-83 game at North Carolina on Saturday.
The matchup against Pittsburgh is intriguing as both teams are undefeated in the BIG EAST UConn at 2-0 and Pitt at 4-0 and the contest is also a rematch of last years BIG EAST tournament final, which the Panthers won. Pitt enter the game with a perfect 18-0 record while UConn is 14-2. The Panthers were ranked 15th in last weeks Associated Press poll.
Junior Emeka Okafor continues to lead the Huskies in scoring at 19.7 points per game while Ben Gordon is second at 18.3 per contest.
Pittsburgh enters its fifth BIG EAST game riding a nation-leading 18-game win streak and 10-game BIG EAST regular season win streak. Pittsburghs 18 wins are the highest total in NCAA Division I.
Pitt rookie head coach Jamie Dixon is the first coach in school history to win his first 18 games of a Pitt coaching career. The 18 consecutive wins to begin a season by a rookie head coach surpassed North Carolinas Bill Guthridges total of 17 consecutive wins to start a season at North Carolina (1997-98). The national record for most consecutive victories to begin a season by a rookie head coach is 33 straight in 1978-79 by Indiana States Bill Hodges.