Women's Basketball Set to Tangle with No. 1 Notre Dame in Big East Final


  • Game Notes [.pdf]

    The second-ranked Connecticut Huskies (27-2, 15-1) continue the 2001 BIG EAST Tournament as the defending BIG EAST Champs and national champions. The Huskies have won 11 regular season conference championships (eight consecutive) and nine tournament championships (seven consecutive) since the 1989-90 season. This brings the program's total to an astounding 20 league basketball titles, a mark rivaled by no other team- male or female. The next best record is 13 by the Georgetown men's program. UConn also represents the BIG EAST in the NCAAs regularly with 12- straight tournament appearances and the only national championship (1995 & 2000) won by a BIG EAST women's basketball team.

    Overall, the Huskies lead the Irish 11-1, with the series starting in 1996. The last meeting was the first time the Irish had ever defeated the Huskies. This will be the fourth of the 11 skirmishes that have been in the final game of the BIG EAST Championship Tournament. In the Muffet McGraw era, no team other than UConn has a double-digit win total against the Irish. The Huskies boast an average margin of victory of 17.6 ppg in the 11 wins over the Irish. The largest UConn victory margin was a 106-81 win in the Joyce Center in 1998, while the closest game the two teams ever played was a seven-point 86-79 UConn win at home in 1996.

    Before the last meeting, Notre Dame was one of 44 teams that had played UConn and had never been able to beat the Huskies, however, no other team was winless against the Huskies that had played Connecticut 10-or-more times. The closest streak Connecticut had to the 11-0 string of victories over ND was a 9-0 record against Vermont. Under Coach Geno Auriemma, Notre Dame was one of two BIG EAST teams never to have beaten the Huskies- the other being West Virginia (9-0). In the Muffet McGraw era, no team other than UConn has a double-digit win total against the Irish.

    No. 1 vs. No. 2
    This is the 29th matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 (AP Poll) in the history of the women's collegiate game and the second time this season. The top ranked team has won on 15 of the 28 previous meetings. UConn has been involved in six of these games and four in the last two seasons alone winning on five occasions. When a second ranked Husky team gets the chance to, in all likelihood go to the top of the polls, they take advantage of it winning in the only game they ever played a number one team when they were ranked second (1/16/95, 77-66, vs. Tennessee, Storrs, CT). The last time a second- ranked team toppled the nation's best was Jan. 10, 1999 in Storrs, CT, when Tennessee took care of UConn 92-81. Shown below is a listing of the games that UConn has played in when #1 squares off against #2:

                    #1              #2              Outcome
    Jan. 16, 1995   Tennessee       Connecticut     Connecticut, 77-66
    Jan. 10, 1999   Connecticut     Tennessee       Tennessee, 92-81
    Jan. 8, 2000    Connecticut     Tennessee       Connecticut, 74-67
    April 2, 2000   Connecticut     Tennessee*      Connecticut, 71-52
    Dec. 30, 2000   Connecticut     Tennessee       Connecticut, 81-76

    *=Tennessee was tied for No. 2 with Georgia

    UCONN AT NO. 2
    When the Huskies are the second ranked team in the country they own a 31-3 record with losses coming at Rutgers (74-70, 2/10/98), at La. Tech (90-76, 1/18/99) and at Tennessee (92-88, 2/1/01). On its home court, the Huskies have never been defeated when ranked second with a 22-0 mark. UConn has met up with Notre Dame once when the Huskies are runner-up in the polls. This contest came on Feb. 21, 1998 with Connecticut earning a 73-61 victory.

    This is the second time in the history of women's basketball, and second time this season, that the No 1 and No. 2 teams in the country are from BIG EAST schools. The only other time the BIG EAST was No. 1 and No. 2 during the regular season in any sport was in men's basketball when St. John's and Georgetown were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, for five weeks during 1984-85 and then flip- flopped the sixth week. Also (AP polls), the BIG EAST is only the third conference to ever have two different teams hold the No. 1 spot in the same year, but it's the fifth time that it has happened. The SEC has done it three times (TN, Auburn- 1987-88 and 1988-89, and TN, Vanderbilt- 1992-93), while the ACC has done it once as well (Virginia, Maryland- 1991-92).

    No member of the Notre Dame starting five is averaging less than 27.8 minutes a game and when it comes to conference games that average gets higher at 29.4. For UConn, the story is much different as playing time gets spread out with no one playing more than 26.9 minutes and 11 members of the team playing double-digit minutes. A look at the nations top five teams shows that no other team relies so heavily on its starting five. Aside from Duke's Georgia Schweitzer who averages 32.1 minutes per game no other team has a player reaching 30-or-more minutes. Two members of the Irish squad average half an hour on the court and when it comes to conference only games that number jumps to all but one of the starting five. As a group the Irish starters are averaging 30 minutes per outing.

    Several members of the Husky squad have had great efforts against Notre Dame, including career-bests.

    Svetlana Abrosimova     25 pts, 7 reb   3/2/99
            "       "       11 pts, 15 reb  2/21/98
            "       "       23 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast, 6 stl     12/8/98
            "       "       20 pts, 14 reb, 6 stl   1/15/01
    Swin Cash               15 pts, 3 reb, 3 ast*   12/8/98
    Asjha Jones             21 pts*, 6 reb  3/2/99
    Shea Ralph              19 pts, 6 reb, 10 ast*  3/2/99
            "       "       17 pts, 5 ast, 3 stl    2/26/00
    Sue Bird                14 pts, 3 ast, 3 stl    2/26/00
                            17 pts, 6 ast   1/15/01
    Kelly Schumacher        8 pts, 8 reb, 2 ast, 4 blk      2/26/00
    Both Geno Auriemma and Muffet McGraw got their start on the collegiate scene at St. Joseph's (Pa) and both were assistant coaches under current Vanderbilt head coach, Jim Foster.

    Although she never played against Connecticut during her collegiate days, Notre Dame Assistant Coach Coquese Washington, has played with and against former UConn greats. As a member of the WNBA's New York Liberty in 1998 and 1999 she teamed with Rebecca Lobo and then switched teams prior to last season to play for the Houston Comets. With that move she joined UConn grad Jennifer Rizzotti. Last season it was the Comets who defeated the Liberty, 79-73, in overtime for the WNBA title.

    As cited by the Notre Dame media guide, six members of the Irish roster picked UConn to reach the Final Four, everyone on the team believes they will be one of the other three teams in St. Louis.

    UConn has an overall record of 227-76 in regular season BIG EAST play. This is the third time the Huskies will share the regular season title, but first time UConn is the No. 2 seed as the co-champ. UConn shared the 1999 title with Rutgers (both 17-1), and shared the 1989 title with Providence (both 14-2). In both cases, UConn won the tie- breakers due to head-to-head competition. This season, the Huskies share a 15-1 BIG EAST record with Notre Dame, however, 2nd-ranked Notre Dame is UConn's only conference loss on the season.

    During UConn's run of eight consecutive BIG EAST regular season titles, the Huskies post a record of 135-5. UConn has gone undefeated in league play in three seasons (18-0 1994-95; 18-0 1996- 97; 16-0 1999-00), the most of any other team in the league. UConn also holds the record for most consecutive winning seasons in the league. Since 1986, the Huskies have been over .500 for the past 15- straight seasons. The next closest is St. John's who posted six winning seasons in a row from 1983-88.

    The Huskies are now 4-1 overall as the second seed in the BIG EAST Tournament. In 1991-92, UConn, one of three schools to finish the season at 13-5, won a three-way tiebreaker with Georgetown and Providence to earn the second seed in the tournament. UConn went on to defeat Pittsburgh (86-50) and Georgetown (82-64) in the quarterfinals and semis, but fell to the No. 1 seed Miami (18-0 during regular season play) in the title game by a score of 56-47. That was UConn's last loss in a championship game.

    This will be the seventh time overall UConn will serve host to the BIG EAST Tournament. The Huskies are 18-2 in BIG EAST Tournament games played in Gampel, and have claimed four of the seven titles. UConn hosted the tournament in 1990 (runner-up), 1992 (runner-up), 1994 (champs), 1996 (champs), 1997 (champs), and 2000 (champs). Rutgers will host the 2002 and 2003 championship.

    UConn finished the regular season undefeated at home for the first time since the 1997-98 season. It marked the sixth time the Huskies have gone into tournament play undefeated on their home floor. Through two games in the tournament, Connecticut has a home record of 229-25 (208-21 in Gampel) under Geno Auriemma. He has led UConn to 86 percent of the school's home court wins.

    All-time, UConn is 168-15 in games played in Gampel Pavilion (not including exhib.). Including the St. John's game, the Huskies are 86-5 in BIG EAST regular season games. In non-league regular season games, UConn is 46-6. In BIG EAST Tournament games, UConn is 18-2, and in NCAA Tournament games, the Huskies are 18-2. Since the start of the 1993-94 season, UConn women's basketball is a stunning 122-3 overall at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion.

    Since December 31,1997 (82-69 win over Rutgers), the Huskies have had soldout attendances of 10,027 for 46-straight contests in Gampel. UConn is hosting the BIG EAST tournament, which is also an advanced sellout, and most likely will play the first and second rounds at home as well.

    Now without the services of All-American Svetlana Abrosimova, the graph below shows who is making the biggest move in terms of averages over the last nine games from where they were prior to Svet's injury to where they are now in the order to fill the void in the categories that Abrosimova led the team in. So far, Ralph and Johnson and have made the biggest impact with Taurasi coming on stronger later and Colon doing her part (Bold shows increase in production.)

                    First 19 Games  Games Played in Since Injury
                    Points  Steals          Points  Steals          
    Cash            12.2    1.2             13      0.6
    Bird            9.6     2.2             9.0     1.6
    Ralph           8.7     1.7             10.6    1.7
    Johnson         4.4     1.3             8.6     2.4
    Taurasi         9.8     1.1             12.1    2.0
    Jones           8.6     1.1             8.2     0.8
    Schumacher      5.8     0.3             6.5     0.4
    Willams         10.8    1.4             6.8     1.4     
    Conlon          1.3     0.2             5.1     0.5
    Valley          3.5     0.7             2.4     0.2
    Rigby           2.6     0.2             3.8     0.1
    Czel            1.1     0.3             1.4     0.3
    UConn boasts an 84-game home winning streak (Gampel Pavilion and Hartford Civic Center) against conference opponents. The Huskies have not lost a BIG EAST game at home, regular or postseason, since losing to Georgetown on 2/27/94 (64-62). The St. John's game was UConn's 69th consecutive home regular season BIG EAST win (Gampel and Civic Center). Overall, the Huskies are currently riding a 24-game home winning streak (including HCC games, not including exhibition games) dating back to the Tennessee game of 1999-2000 (2/2/00). The Huskies have won their last 18 games in Gampel (not exhib.) dating back to February 2, 2000.


    UConn's 44-point victory over St. John's in the championship game of last seasons BIG EAST Tournament sat the record for the largest point differential in the history of the tournament bettering the 40- point defeat Notre Dame handed Georgetown (83-43) in the semifinals during the 1997 season.

    In last season's edition of the tournament, UConn's wins came by an average margin of 29.6 points marking the largest in tourney history and giving UConn the top seven places on the list. UConn also set a new mark for largest margin of victory with a

    As Sue Bird combined to go 6-for-9 from behind the three point line a season ago, her three-point field goal percentage, .667, tied that of Lucie Fontanella (Providence, 1993) and Sheila McMillen (Notre Dame, 1996) for the second best effort in a BIG EAST Tournament.

    Every one of the 11 times Shea Ralph stepped to the free throw line during the 2000 tournament she hit her shot tying her with Doreen Ferguson (Providence, 1986) for the second best effort from the charity stripe in tournament play in terms of free throw percentage. Julie Mikuta (Georgetown, 1989) and Jeannie Hebert (Miami, 1992) both connected on 12-of 12.

    After giving the ball up on 69 occasions in 1998, UConn got things heading in the right direction with only 51 turnovers in 2000. The 1998 total ranks as the highest among teams who have made only three appearances in one tournament.

    Following last season's BIG EAST Tournament, Tamika Williams was awarded for her efforts in leading the Huskies to their ninth championship as she was chosen as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Scoring in double figures in each of the three games and bumping her season total to 13 double-figure scoring games, Williams ended up pacing the team in the scoring category finishing with 40 (13.3 ppg). Twice in the three game span she led the team in the department, which is something she had only done twice all season. The graph below charts Williams' ability to step up in big time games as it compares her averages coming into the tournament to those during the tournament:

                   Pre-Tourn  Tourn. Play
    Points          8.4       13.3
    Assists         0.6       1.0
    Rebounds        2.8       4.0
    Free throws     1.4       2.6
    Steals          1.0       1.6
    UConn currently holds the BIG EAST record for most consecutive tournament games won with 23 (1994-present).

    UConn capped an eighth consecutive conference regular season in which they lost no more than one game, marking the 10th overall. Over the eight-season stretch Geno Auriemma has guided the Huskies to a league record of 141-4 (.972) with none of those losses at home and the first of those being to Seton Hall (53-74, 1/5/94).

    With UConn's victory over Boston College (2/11), the Huskies reached 20 wins in each of the last eight seasons dating back to the 1992-93 squad (18-11).

    EN ROUTE TO 30
    With a win in its semifinal game, UConn is currently 9th on the all-time list with most victories in a season (27). With up to seven games left on the Connecticut schedule, the Huskies could move into a tie for third with most wins (34) by winning the BIG EAST Tournament and national title.

    Here is an overall comparison of where the Huskies stand at the end of the regular season as compared to the regular season stats from UConn's two title seasons (1995, 2000). (Bold indicates category leader).

                    1995             2000            2001
    FG - FGA -%     889-1775/.501    901-1685/.535   884-1733/510
    3FG- 3FGA - %   138-346/.399     153-367/.417    195-495/.394
    FT-FTA - %      437-650/.672     439-616/.713    400-578/.692
    OFF-DEF Reb     392-826          368-794         389-777
    TOT Reb- Avg.   1363-52.4        1162-41.5       1166-43.2
    PF-FO           405-6            482-4           503-10
    Assists         589              581             606
    Turnovers       465              537             472
    Blocks          181              124             131
    Steals          294              352             366
    Pts.-Avg.       2353-90.5        2394-85.5       2363-87.5
    In UConn's last five games, runs have been the keys to wiping out West Virginia, St. John's, Seton Hall, Boston College and Rutgers. The Huskies got things started against the Mountaineers by holding them scoreless for the opening nine minutes of play and by the time West Virginia finally did get on board it was already 19-2. The runs in the St. John's game would be even more impressive. A 20-0 run between the 10:07 and 4:57 mark in the first half was a sign of things to come, as the second half began with a 28-0 run that turned into a 46-2 run in the first 15:31 of the second stanza. Combining the three runs against the Red Storm, would give UConn a 66-4 run during 20:43 of the contest. UConn used a 28-6 run from 16:58 to 4:26 in the first half to steal the final game from Seton Hall. The Huskies poured on a 20-4 run in the first half (11:17-3:44) of the quarterfinals to knock Boston College out of the tourney. Against Rutgers, it was over from the start. The Huskies opened the game with a 26-3 run and never let the Knights get closer than 20 all night long.

    In nine of the last 10 games, no team has been able to manage better than 36.5 percent from the field against UConn, while West Virginia shot a season-low 19.2% (Last year, West Virginia held the season of 12.7% on 2/3/00). In the first game against Villanova (2/4) the Wildcats went 15-57, after that both Rutgers and Boston College went 17-52, while Virginia Tech hit 13-55. In the last game, Villanova managed just 11-42 from the field. West Virginia was 10-52 overall and had just four field goals in the first half. Most recently, St. John's was 17-of-52 versus UConn (31.5) and Seton Hall was 16-of-47 (34.0). The lack of points for opposing teams starts with the top scorers. Coming into the game with Connecticut, Rutgers had three players averaging double-digits and none of those three got into double figures. Overall, in the last nine games only six (Gottstein- BC, Williams- VaTech, Juhline-Villanova, Kudryavtseva-WVA, Thompson- SJU, Moreno- SHU) of 19 players who typically score 10 or more points have neared their average. The only team who shot well against UConn was Rutgers at 51.1%.

    In nine of the last 10 games, UConn has held its opponents to under 55 points. Versus Villanova and Virginia Tech, the Huskies held opponents to under 40 points in back-to-back games. The last time the Huskies held back-to-back opponents to fewer than 40 was last season versus West Virginia (35, 1/12/00) and Pittsburgh (36, 1/15/00). This season, UConn held the Mountaineers to 34, St. John's to 44 points, and Seton Hall to 48. Rutgers was the only exception scoring 66 points in the BIG EAST semis.

    With 94 points versus Rutgers, the team stays 9th on the school's all- time list for points in a season. Currently, the Huskies have scored 2,553 passing the 1991-92 team which netted 2,336. The 1990-91 squad is eighth all-time-2,578. Furthermore, with 36 field goals on Monday night, UConn is 9th on the all-time chart for most field goals in a single season with 952. Unselfish play has also been a key to the season as the Huskies moved into eighth in that category with 645 assists so far. The 1996-97 squad held the 8th place position with 596 assists- 1993-94 is 7th with 649.

    So far this season, the UConn defense has kept 10 opponents under 50 points including seven of the last 10. The three exceptions being Boston College, which netted 53 both times- on Feb. 11 and in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST, and Rutgers who got 66. Since UConn's loss to Tennessee, Seton Hall became the eighth straight opponent to be held to 53 points or less, the most consecutive under the Auriemma era. Connecticut kept six straight opponents to 53 or less points during the 1996-97 season, starting with Boston College on 11/24/96 and ending at Rhode Island on 12/9/96.

    Abrosimova underwent left foot surgery on Wednesday, Feb. 7, to repair a torn ligament and will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2000-2001 college basketball season. Following the surgery, Abrosimova will spend approximately six weeks in a walking boot. The normal return to basketball for this type of injury is expected to range in the five-to-six month span. Abrosimova concludes her four- year career ranked No. 5 in career scoring with 1,865 points, carrying a career scoring average of 14.7 ppg. She is No. 3 at UConn in career steals (299), No. 5 in career assists (473), and No. 7 in career rebounding (814).

    Since the injury to Abrosimova, predicting Auriemma's starting five is like trying to predict the weather in New England. Auriemma shook the lineup a bit inserting three new starters against Villanova in the first meeting, including two first-timers. Diana Taurasi and Kennitra Johnson both made their first career starts in UConn's first meeting versus the Wildcats. KJ had a solid game finishing with 13 points on 5- of-8 shooting, and grabbing three steals, while Taurasi had seven points, three assists and four rebounds in the affair. Williams made her first start of the season versus 'Nova and had 10 points and eight rebounds. With the recent injuries to Taurasi and Williams, UConn had another new mix start the game versus West Virginia. Since the Tenn. game, UConn has seen seven different starting lineups (including senior night) in 10 games. The Huskies have won with all six lineups.

    Now without the services of All-American Svetlana Abrosimova, the graph below shows who is making the biggest move in terms of averages over the last nine games from where they were prior to Svet's injury to where they are now in the order to fill the void in the categories that Abrosimova led the team in. So far, Ralph, Johnson and Taurasi have made the biggest impact with Taurasi and Conlon both doing their part (Bold shows increase in production.)

                    First 19 Games  Games Played in Since Injury
                    Points  Steals          Points  Steals          
    Cash            12.2    1.2             12.2    0.6
    Taurasi         9.8     1.1             11.4    1.7
    Ralph           8.7     1.7             10.8    1.7
    Johnson         4.4     1.3             9.2     2.5
    Bird            9.6     2.2             9.0     1.6
    Jones           8.6     1.1             7.5     0.8
    Willams         10.8    1.4             7.0     1.6     
    Schumacher      5.8     0.3             6.3     0.4
    Conlon          1.3     0.2             4.7     0.5
    Rigby           2.6     0.2             3.6     0.0
    Valley          3.5     0.7             1.8     0.2
    Czel            1.1     0.3             1.5     0.3
    UConn's Diana Taurasi led the Huskies to their quarterfinal win with 22 points in 31 minutes of play and netted 17 in 26 minutes versus the Scarlet Knights in the semis. The freshman played most of the second half due to a back injury which sidelined point guard Sue Bird. The Rookie of the Year, Rebekkah Brunson from Georgetown, combined for 26 points in 66 minutes of action. Brunson also added 14 rebounds in the two games.

    UConn won a piece of the regular season title thanks to Rutgers shocking the Irish (2/17), 54-53. The win came just three days after UConn had soundly defeated the Scarlet Knights, 70-45, in Storrs, CT. The halftime lead appears to be the key to knocking off either UConn or Notre Dame. ND and Tennessee had it when they defeated the Huskies and the Irish were down at intermission for the first time all season in their game against Rutgers. Also, in each one of the three losses Connecticut and Notre Dame have combined for, they have only hit 11 free throws in each game. UConn was 11- 33 against Notre Dame from the line on 1/15, however, that effort increased greatly against Tennessee as the Huskies went 11-15 on 2/1. Notre Dame was 11-22 from the free throw line against Rutgers.

    In the last three seasons, including this year, UConn has finished strong in their final games of the year. The Huskies clobbered Providence in the last regular season game last year with a 102-68 win in Providence, and when the juniors were freshmen two seasons ago, the Huskies dismantled Syracuse, 105-43 in Syracuse. UConn ended the 2000-2001 with an 83-48 victory over the Pirates.

    The Huskies shot an astounding 80.6% in the second half versus St. John's (including 7-of-8 from three-point line), to end the game at 72.6% overall (45-of-62). UConn shot 71% versus Hampton in the first round of the 2000 NCAA tournament. The NCAA record for single- game field goal percentage with a minimum of 36 field goals made is 73.7%- Florida Int'l vs. Canisius, Jan. 2, 1992 (42 of 57).

    Versus Virginia Tech, UConn set a new school record for three pointers made in a game with 14 trifectas. On the same note, Virginia Tech was shutout from long range going 0-15. UConn has shutout an opponent from behind the arc one other time this season as Miami went 0-7 on December 5, 2000. UConn followed up the Virginia Tech game with a repeat record-setting performance nailing 14-of-28 threes against Rutgers. The Huskies finish the regular season first in the conference in three-point field goals made (195), second in the league in three-point field goal percentage (.394) and second in three-point field goal percentage defense (.246). The Huskies are currently shooting .392 (209-533).

    Despite leading the league in scoring offense (87.8 ppg) by an 11- point margin (next is ND at 76.8), the Huskies do not boast a single player in the top 15 in the league in scoring. Swin Cash is ranked 16th averaging 12.2 ppg. Despite leading the league in field goal percentage at .511 (916-1794), the Huskies do not have a single player that even fits the BIG EAST criteria for the category, which calls for a minimum of 5.0 made per game. Minimum aside, 12 players on the UConn roster are shooting better than the ninth- ranked player in the category, and two players on the UConn roster are shooting better than the leader Ruth Riley (185-291, .636). Tamika Williams leads UConn in shooting hitting 77.4 percent of her shots from the field (106-137). Of the top players, Cash is behind Williams shooting .570 (127-223)- this would be second on the list, but she averages only 4.5 field goals per game. Despite leading the league in rebounding (43.0 rpg) and rebounding margin (+10.2), the Huskies only have one rebounder in the league's top 20. Cash is fifth on the list and is leading the team with 7.0 rpg. Despite leading the league in steals (13.7 spg), UConn's leader in steals is tied for 10th (Sue Bird, 2.0 spg). Despite leading the nation with the most Naismith Player of the Year finalists (Bird, Ralph and Abrosimova), the Huskies have only had two BIG EAST Weekly Awards (Cash was Co-Player and Taurasi was Co-Rookie).

    Despite not having a single individual ranked in the national statistics as of Monday (2/26), UConn is ranked in the Top 10 in seven different team categories. The Huskies are No. 1 in scoring margin (33.6), No. 2 in scoring offense (87.7), No. 3 in field goal percentage (51.0), No. 4 in win-loss percentage (.923), No. 2 in field goal percentage defense (33.8), No. 3 in rebound margin (10.2), and No. 3 in scoring defense (54.2).

    The Husky offense, known for its scoring, is one of the most unselfish teams in the country. UConn's assist to basket ratio is an astounding 67.7%. The Huskies average 22.2 apg. UConn had its worst assist effort versus LaTech when the Huskies only helped out on 11 of 30 field goals, but bounced back against Syracuse assisting on 24 of 30 hoops. UConn dished a season-high 33 assists versus Georgetown to finish the game with 33 assists on 38 field goals (86.6%). UConn had 20 assists on 22 field goals in the first half alone (90.9%). Six different players have led the Huskies in assists in 28 games this season. UConn point guard Sue Bird is the team leader with 145 assists (5.2 apg), and is followed by Shea Ralph who has dished 116 assists (4.0 apg) so far.

    This season, UConn athletes have already fouled out over twice as many times than they did all of last season combined (10 in 2001, 4 in 2000). A look at UConn's fouls shows the Huskies have had a difficult time adjusting to the NCAA's point of emphasis this season of cleaning up "rough play". UConn has been whistled for 541 fouls in 29 games an average of 18.6 per contest, up from 17.1 a year ago. In both of UConn's losses this year, the Huskies have recorded 30-or- more fouls. These were the only two times that Connecticut has done so this season.

    In the past five years, Tennessee is the only team in the country to have beaten UConn more than once. Connecticut is one of three teams (La. Tech and Georgia) to have defeated Tennessee multiple times. The only teams to have defeated both UConn and Tennessee in the last five seasons are La. Tech, Georgia and Old Dominion.

    UConn's winning streak of 30 straight games which dated back to February 2, 1999, was halted on Jan. 15 versus the Irish. The streak moved UConn past Miami (Fla.) for eighth on the all-time list. Two other Connecticut streaks also rank inside the top 10, a school best 35 straight from 1994-96 and 33 from 1996-97.

    Notre Dame ended UConn's regular season BIG EAST winning streak at 28 dating back to a 78-66 loss to Boston College in Chestnut Hill on Jan. 23, 1999. Notre Dame also ended UConn's regular season game winning streak on the road at 19 dating back to 2/13/99 when they suffered an 82-77 loss at Old Dominion.

    Head Coach Geno Auriemma is in his 16th season at the helm for the Huskies. Entering the BIG EAST finals, he is 420-97 (.812) overall in his career, and has two national championships at Connecticut (1995, 2000). Auriemma is third among active Division I coaches in winning percentage. He was also the first Division I coach (men or women) in basketball history to earn five consecutive 30-plus winning seasons. Auriemma has taken UConn to the 1995 and 2000 National Championship, four Final Four appearances, seven Elite Eights and eight Sweet Sixteen games. During his tenure, the team has also won 10 regular season BIG EAST titles and nine league tournament championships, including the last seven consecutive titles in each regular season and postseason.

    THE BIG 400
    When UConn defeated Illinois, it was the 400th career win for UConn head coach Geno Auriemma. His record is currently 420-97 (.812). Auriemma became the 30th coach in the history of the game to eclipse the 400 win mark, having done it in just 16 seasons. He became the second coach this season to go over 400 as Villanova head coach Harry Perretta collected his 400th victory in a 60-55 win over Temple. Muffet McGraw of Notre Dame became the third to join the club this season with her 400th win over Miami on Tuesday night. Auriemma and McGraw join Perretta and Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer to give the BIG EAST four current head coaches on the 400- or-more win list.

    Entering the BIG EAST semifinals, head coach Geno Auriemma is currently the third winningest coach all-time by percentage. He boasts a winning percentage of .812 (420-97). Pat Summit, whose team is currently 28-2, is second at .834 (756-152) and the leader is Leon Barmore of LaTech (27-4 so far this season) with a current clip of .868 (548-82).

    After the Rutgers game, the Huskies are 44-11 overall versus ranked opponents over the past five seasons and are 22-11 versus Top 10 opponents in that span. All-time, UConn is now 61-29 versus ranked teams and 29-19 against Top 10-ranked teams. The Huskies finished the 1999-2000 season 16-1 versus ranked opponents and an astounding 10-1 vs. Top 10 foes. Four of the nine occasions that the Huskies reached the century mark in 1999-2000 were against ranked teams. UConn boasted an average margin of victory of 20.0 points over ranked opponents (and a margin of defeat of 1.0 points).

    Connecticut's victories over Louisiana Tech (Jan. 7) and Tennessee (Dec. 30) marked only the second time in as many seasons that the Huskies have beaten both teams in the same season. Prior to the Huskies doing it last year, the last team to beat both the Lady Techsters and Lady Vols in the same year was Purdue, in 1998-99. The Boilermakers went on to win the national championship as did the Huskies last year.

    Through the BIG EAST quarterfinals, the Huskies post a 139-2 record when playing on CPTV. UConn's only two losses on the network have been at Rutgers in 1998 (74-70) and at Syracuse in 1996 (62-59). UConn's debut on CPTV came in 1993-94 when they picked up four games. The following season, the network showed a total of 16 games en route to UConn's 35-0 season. The 1995-96 season produced 18 games, 1996-97 showed 22 games, 1997-98 included 18 games, 1998-99 had 20 games and last season the Huskies played 22 games on CPTV.

    UConn's game versus Villanova in The Pavilion attracted a record high women's basketball crowd of 6,229. The Conte Forum was sold out (8,606) for a BC women's game the first time this season when the Huskies came to town. The UConn- Tennessee game drew 24,046 fans to Thompson-Boling Arena, a season-high for a women's basketball game and the fifth highest crowd ever at Boling Arena. UConn's game versus Pittsburgh drew the largest crowd ever for a women's game at the Fitzgerald Field House as 3,418 people came to watch the game. The 11,418 fans that came out to the Joyce Center on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, was the first sellout crowd in the history of women's basketball at Notre Dame. The 1,516 fans that packed the Knight Sports Complex in Coral Gables was a sellout and the second highest crowd in history at the Knight Complex. The 2,024 at Syracuse was a season-high and the tenth highest crowd number in Manley Field House history. The Huskies drew 6,098 fans to the opening night of the Key Bank Arena in Seattle, WA., when UConn defeated UW, 90-63, setting a precedence for women's games in the arena (the men drew 6,313 the following night). UConn drew record crowds on the road in four different arenas in 1999-2000.

    Tennessee leads the nation in home attendances this season averaging 16,659. Texas Tech is second averaging 12,770, while UConn is third averaging 12,306. Connecticut and Tennessee hold the single season attendance record when 24,406 fans showed up at Boling Arena in Knoxville to see the top teams square off.

    Connecticut's entire 16-game home schedule (14 regular season games, 2 exhibitions) in the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (10,027 capacity) and the Hartford Civic Center (16,294 capacity) is an advance sellout.

    Overall, UConn's bench is outscoring opponent reserves by a 966-501 margin. Williams is leading UConn off the bench averaging 9.9 ppg, but made her first start of the season versus Villanova. With Svetlana Abrosimova on the sideline and Sue Bird recently injured, UConn's bench is a bit smaller and the lineup fluctuates often. Only three times season has the bench been outscored, the first was during the December game against Miami (31-17), the second was on Jan. 27 vs. Syracuse (28-26), and the third was versus Boston College (21-20). BC freshman Janelle McManus hit for 20 of the Eagles' 21 bench points. UConn's bench outscored Georgetown reserves, 43-15 (one hoop shy of GU's total offensive output), and the entire Providence team with a 60- 49 point effort. UConn's bench outscored the entire St. John's team, 51-44.

    Despite the career-ending injury to Abrosimova, UConn's senior night couldn't have been scripted better. The four seniors that started each had a memorable game. The team scored a season high 118 points, the second highest point total in school history. Christine Rigby led all scorers with a career high 21 points, while Marci Czel chipped in a career high nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from behind the three- point line. Shea Ralph finished with 19 points (7-of-9 shooting) and tied her season high in assists with seven, while Kelly Schumacher had 12 points, a season high six blocks and tied her season high of eight rebounds.

    Before the first Villanova contest, All-American Shea Ralph suffered through six games where she totalled 23 points (3.8 ppg), after averaging 12.1 ppg midway through the season. During the six-game stretch, she shot 9-of-31 (.290) from the floor and was 1-of-11 from behind the three-point arc. Versus Villanova, the senior went 5-for-5 from the floor, including 3-for-3 three-point shooting, to lead the team with 14 points. This was the fifth time in her career and third time in the month of February that she had a perfect outing from the field, three of the other four times came a season ago with two of those coming in back-to-back games. The other time came during the 1998-99 season.

    Date     Opponent        FG-FGM  3FG-3FGM  FT-FTA
    1/2/99   West Virginia   8-8     1-1       3-4
    11/26/99 Old Dominion    9-9     1-1       4-5
    2/15/00  at St. John's   2-2     0-0       2-2
    2/18/00  Syracuse        7-7     0-0       4-4
    Shea followed up the Villanova game with a 13-point performance versus Virginia Tech and 10 pts. versus Boston College. It was the first time since Jan. 2 that Shea had back- to-back-to-back double-figure games. The most double- figure scoring games in a row she had this season was four dating back to Dec. 10-Jan. 2. Last season, the All-American had a string of 14-straight games in double-figures to open the year. Shea broke her new streak against Rutgers scoring only five points and was 1-for-8 against Villanova, despite pulling down 10 rebounds. The senior got back in the game with 16 points versus West Virginia, including nine rebounds, and had 19 points on senior night along with tying a season high seven assists. She finished her final regular season game with 11 points and six assists and so far in the postseason has 22 points, 12 assists, 12 rebounds and four steals.

    CASH- TONIGHT ON 20-20
    In UConn's game against West Virginia on 2/20 Swin Cash led the team with 20 points and 20 rebounds. Cash became the 13th player in school history to record 20-or-more rebounds in a game and the first to do it in five years. The last time a Husky notched over 20 in both departments was Nov. 19, 1995, when Kara Wolters scored 29 points and grabbed 20 boards. Rebecca Lobo did it twice in the same season and three times in her career with 24 points and 23 rebounds against Seton Hall (2/6/93). The next year she had 24 points and 20 rebounds against Georgetown (2/2/94) and 32 points and 21 rebounds against Boston College (2/16/94). Before that, Renee Najarian had 26 points and 21 rebounds against Drexel (11/28/87). The last time a Husky had above 20 rebounds, but was unable to reach 20 points was when Peggy Walsh had 25 rebounds against Pittsburgh (2/19/86). To her credit, she did tie the school rebounding record in the effort.

    Freshman sensation Diana Taurasi pumped in a career-high 24 points against No. 3 Tennessee on 9-of-16 shooting (6-of-9 from three-point) in only 27 minutes of play. The freshman averages 10.5ppg (third highest on the team), 3.0 apg, 2.8 rpg and made her first career start versus Villanova. She is 56-of-133 (first in three-pointers made) from behind the arc this season (.423). She leads the team in turnovers, however, with 61 (2.2 topg), is second on the squad in fouls with 68 (including UConn's only player technical of the season for unsportsmanlike conduct) and first in games fouled out with three.

    Freshman sensation Diana Taurasi broke into the top ten list for assists by a freshman and blocks by a freshman. She has 83 assists so far this season passing Laura Lishness at the 10th spot with 75 assists as a freshman. Taurasi is tied for 7th on the blocks list for freshmen with 23, with Paige Sauer and J. Weideman who have 23 blocks apiece.

    When the UConn freshmen are mentioned, all consider Diana Taurasi the leader of the pack. However, with Taurasi out versus West Virginia, UConn's other two active freshmen led the Huskies for the first time this season. Freshman Maria Conlon netted a career-high 16 points on a team-leading four three-pointers and 5-of-7 shooting. Freshman Morgan Valley tied for the lead in assists with a career high five assists on the night. Conlon followed up her season high performance with nine points on three-of four shooting from the three-point line versus St. John's.

    With a season high six blocks against St. John's, senior Kelly Schumacher moved into fourth on the all-time blocks list at UConn. The center has 169 career blocks passing Peggy Myers (162) for fourth place. Kara Wolters ('97) is third with 370 blocks.

    After sitting out six games due to a stress fracture in her right foot, Kelly Schumacher got her first taste of action in 240 game minutes against Wake Forest. She scored a career- high 20 points versus Pittsburgh on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor and swatted four shots. She hadn't had a career-high performance since her nine blocked shots versus Tennessee in the 2000 NCAA title game. Schuey followed up the Pittsburgh game with a 10-point performance against Miami on 5-of-8 shooting. Only one other time in her career has Schuey posted back-to-back double-figure scoring: her freshman season versus MIami (10) and Maine (19). The double-figure scoring streak ended against Syracuse when she finished with only two points in 11 minutes, however, she dropped off even more versus Tennessee with no points in five minutes of action. In the three games prior to St. John's, she had 10 points and 12 rebounds. On senior night, she finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and six blocks. In the postseason she has 19 points in two games.

    Swin Cash has been UConn's most explosive player on the boards. The junior forward leads the team with 201 total rebounds (6.9 rpg). Cash had her most impressive double- double of the year and 11th career, with 20 points and 20 rebounds versus West Virginia (2/20). Cash opened the year with her seventh career double-double over then-No. 3 Georgia and had the second of the season and eighth of her career versus Miami with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Cash had her ninth career double-double, third of the year, versus No. 8 LaTech with 14 rebounds and a game-high 19 points andhad her 10th career double-double (fourth of the season) with 15 pts. and 10 rebounds versus Syracuse. The forward is second in scoring averaging 12.4 ppg (behind Abrosimova). She has reached double-figure scoring in a team leading 22 of UConn's 29 contests. She led the team with eight rebounds and had 14 points during her homecoming at Pittsburgh.

    Asjha Jones started her first game of the regular season, and first since her freshman year, against Pepperdine on Nov. 21, and was reinserted into the starting five versus Rutgers. She is averaging 8.4 ppg for UConn. She has already recorded a career-high of five assists versus Washington, and a career-high five steals versus Holy Cross. She led UConn in scoring over Villanova with 14, making her the sixth different player to lead (or tie) the team in scoring. Jones was held scoreless twice this season, most recently against Boston College where she finished 0-for-7, and she played a total of six minutes against Tennessee with no points and fouled out of the contest. Only one other time in her career did she play less than six minutes which was freshman season versus Villanova (1/22) when she saw action in only two minutes.

    The junior forward led the league last season with a .714 clip (115-161) and is currently shooting 109-of-141 in 29 games (.773) to lead the team. Williams scored a season high 23 points versus Tennessee on 10-of-13 shooting in 33 minutes of play. She has been perfect from the floor in seven games this season, including a 7-for-7 performance against Pepperdine, and most recently was 5-of-5 versus St. John's and 5-of-5 versus Boston College in the BIG EAST quarterfinals. She made her first start of the season versus Villanova (2/18) and collected 10 points and eight rebounds. Since that start, however, and in the three games prior to St. John's, the forward has scored a combined eight points, including none versus VaTech, and nine total rebounds. She is 4-for-8 in the last three games before St. John's and sat out versus Villanova with a bruised rib. Against St. John's the junior scored 13 points (perfect 5-of-5 from the floor) and grabbed six rebounds. She capped the season with her ninth career double-double, second of the season, versus Seton Hall with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

    Senior Christine Rigby broke a string of 14-straight free throws versus West Virginia when she was 1-for-2 from the line in the last five minutes of play. Rigby scored a career high 21 points versus St. John's when she made her first career start on senior night. The senior was 8-of-12 from the field and finished 5-of-7 from the free throw line. Overall, she is 29-37 (.784) for her career from the stripe.

    Entering the BIG EAST finals, Svetlana Abrosimova (1,865) is currently ranked No. 5 in UConn's all-time career scoring list- 268 points behind No. 4 Rebecca Lobo (2,133). Shea Ralph (1,667) uprooted Wendy Davis at No. 6 who had 1,552 career points, and now trails injured teammate Svetlana Abrosimova.

    1.      Nykesha Sales           2,178
    2.      Kerry Bascom            2,177
    3.      Kara Wolters            2,141
    4.      Rebecca Lobo            2,133
    5.      Svetlana Abrosimova     1,865
    6.      Shea Ralph              1,667
    7.      Wendy Davis             1,552
    8.      Jennifer Rizzotti       1,540
    9.      Cathy Bochain           1,534
    10.     Peggy Walsh             1,413
    With six points versus Rutgers, Tamika Williams moves closer to the 18th spot on the all-time scoring list and 1,000 points with 991 career points. She is currently at 19 and is chasing Amy Duran ('99) who has 1,000 points at No. 18. She would become the 19th player in UConn history to record 1,000 career points. Williams is the third current player whose name appears on the list. Svetlana Abrosimova (fifth) and Shea Ralph (sixth) are the other two.

    Senior Svetlana Abrosimova and junior Sue Bird were named to the First Team All-BIG EAST, while junior Swin Cash and senior Shea Ralph earned Second Team honors. Freshman Diana Taurasi was an All- Rookie choice.

    Junior Swin Cash earned Co-Player of the Week honors this week after her 20-20 performance versus West Virginia. The forward shared the honor with Becky Gottstein from Boston College. Diana Taurasi is the only other UConn player to have received a weekly honor this season- she was Co-Rookie of the Week (1/12).

    Freshman sensation Diana Taurasi was honored by her high school, Don Lugo, in Chino, CA, last Thursday, Feb. 9, when her high school jersey, #23, was retired. Hers was the first ever women's basketball jersey to be retired at Don Lugo.

    Seniors Svetlana Abrosimova and Shea Ralph received recognition as All-Americans by Sports Illustrated for Women. Svet was a first teamer, while Shea Ralph was on the second team.

    The University of Connecticut boasts three finalists, the most of any other school, for the 2000-2001 Naismith Female Collegiate Player of the Year. Svetlana Abrosimova, Shea Ralph and Sue Bird are among the 15 finalists. Ruth Riley from Notre Dame is the fourth player representing the BIG EAST. Overall, the BIG EAST has a total of eight players up for Naismith honors (including men's players), the most of any other conference. Geno Auriemma is also one of 20 coaching finalists for the 2001 Naismith Coach of the Year award.

    Seniors Svetlana Abrosimova and Shea Ralph received recognition as preseason First-Team All-America members by The Associated Press. Abrosimova and Ralph are the fourth pair of teammates, second from Connecticut, to make the preseason team since it started in 1994, following Catchings and Semeka Randall last season, Catchings and Holdsclaw in 1998 and Connecticut's Jennifer Rizzotti and Kara Wolters in 1995.

    On Monday, Jan. 29, head coach Geno Auriemma was honored at the Philadelphia Sports Writer's Association's 97th annual dinner for the 2000 Performance of the Year. He is accepting the honor on behalf of the 2000 National Championship team.

    The University of Connecticut 1999-2000 women's basketball team was nominated for an ESPY for College Team of the Year, while Shea Ralph earned a nomination for College Women's Basketball Player of the Year. (Winners were- Catchings for College Basketball Player of the Year, and the Oklahoma Sooners football team for College Team of the Year). Past UConn ESPY winners include Rebecca Lobo as 1995 Female Athlete of the Year and 1995 College Women's Hoop Player of the Year. The 1995 undefeated National Championship Team (35-0) earned the College Team of the Year ESPY.

    Of the 23 scheduled teams UConn will face this year, none hold a winning record against the Huskies. With UConn's win over Georgia, the Huskies moved to 2-1 in that series. The LaTech series was tied at two wins apiece until the Huskies defeated the Lady Techsters to go one game up.

    Since 1990-91, the Huskies have been ranked nationally at the start of the season. UConn earned the AP No. 1 spot at the beginning of the 1995-96 season, the 1999-2000 season and at the start of this season. UConn's lowest preseason ranking over the last 10 years was No. 24 by the AP in 1990-91. Since an AP ranking of No. 4 to start 1994-95, the Huskies have not opened the year lower than No. 6 (1997-98).

    The University of Connecticut women's basketball team will have another 'first' to talk about this year. Every single regular season UConn game will be televised during the 2000-2001 season. That's more television coverage received than any other women's team in the nation, ever. Along with the national games telecast by Fox, ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS, UConn will have the rest of the games in the 2000-2001 season televised by Connecticut Public Television. CPTV has been covering the UConn women's program since the 1993-94 season. During the past six years, 106 UConn games have been televised regionally by CPTV. WTIC Radio will broadcast all the women's basketball games for the 2000-2001 season as well.

    LIFE BEFORE 1995
    With a win versus Pittsburgh, the University of Connecticut won the 500th game in the history of the program giving the school a record of 500-258, currently 511-259. The majority of the wins have come in the Geno Auriemma era, 418-97. The other 92 wins came under Jean Balthaser (52), Wanda Flora (38) and Sandra Hamm (2).

    With UConn's wins over Old Dominion and Villanova, the Huskies haven't suffered two consecutive losses since 1993, when UConn fell to Providence (87-73) in the BIG EAST semifinals and then suffered a 74-71 loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

    The night the UConn women suffered their first loss in 30 games, the UConn men also dropped a heartbreaker in Austin, TX. The No. 15 UConn men fell, 60-56, against Texas on Monday night, marking the first time since 1993 that both squads had lost on the same day. On March 7, 1993, the UConn men suffered a 70-56 loss at Georgetown, while the women fell in the semifinals of the BIG EAST, 87-73, versus Providence.

    Senior Svetlana Abrosimova suffered a torn ligament in her left foot during the Tennessee game (2/1). She had surgery on Feb. 7 will be sidelined in a boot for the remainder of the season. Freshman forward Ashley Battle tore the UCL (Ulnar Collateral Ligament) in her left elbow versus Miami (12/5). She had surgery on Dec. 8, to repair the ligament. Battle has decided to apply for a medical hardship to regain her freshman eligibility. Senior Kelly Schumacher missed six games (11/21-12/10) due to a stress fracture in her right foot. Freshman Morgan Valley is back in action after having arthroscopic surgery on her left knee to repair torn cartilage. She missed three games due to the injury (12/22-1/2). Freshman Maria Conlon missed eight games (12/22-1/18) due to mononucleosis. Tamika Williams suffered a bruised rib in practice on 2/17 and is back in the lineup after sitting out two contests (2/18-2/20). Diana Taurasi sprained her right ankle versus Villanova (2/18) and is also back in the lineup after having missed one contest. Sue Bird went down late in the first half versus BC in the quarterfinals, and is suffering from back spasms. She is listed as day-to-day and will be a game-time decision.