STORRS, Conn. (November 30, 2008) – Senior Renee Montgomery (St. Albans, W. Va.) recorded a career-high 30 points and a matched a program-best with 13 assists for her first double-double in 116 career games as the No. 1 University of Connecticut women’s basketball team defeated No. 4 Oklahoma University 106-78 in front of a crowd of 9,688 in Harry A. Gampel Pavilion on Sunday night.
Montgomery led all scorers as she shot 12-for-22 from the field, while adding six rebounds on the night. Her 30 points moves her past Chris Gedney (1,409) and Peggy Walsh (1,413) into 15th place on the UConn all-time scoring list with a current total of 1,437.
Freshman Caroline Doty (Doylestown, Pa.) added 18 points as she hit 6-for-6 from behind the arc, the first time in program history that player has hit a perfect 6-for-6. She also became the 11th player in UConn history to be perfect from beyond the three point line, with at least four attempts.
With the win, UConn improves to 5-0 on the season while extending its all-time series lead over the Sooners to 7-0. The Huskies have now opened a season 5-0 for the fourth straight time and the 12th in the last 13 seasons overall. Oklahoma drops to 4-2 after tonight’s defeat as the Huskies improve to 15-1 all-time against opponents from the Big XII Conference.
Sophomore Maya Moore (Lawrenceville, Ga.) finished the contest with 27 points and 12 rebounds for her 14th career double-double and her 17th game with 20-plus points. She also added four assists, two blocked shots and two steals. Tina Charles (Jamaica, N.Y.) finished with her 56th double-double of her career as she pulled down 10 rebounds while picking up 18 points as four of the five UConn starters scored in double figures.
UConn fell to an early 5-2 deficit, the Sooners only lead of the game, before back-to-back three pointers by Doty and Montgomery flipped the score and put the Huskies up 8-5. The Huskies continued to trade baskets with the Sooners before a 9-0 run put UConn up by 12 as Charles led the way with five straight points, including a three-point play with 9:52 on the clock.
A steal by Charles in front of the UConn bench set up a fast break three pointer by Montgomery to give the Huskies a 14 point advantage as sophomore Lorin Dixon (Springfield Gardens, N.Y.) drove the length of the court then dished the ball to Montgomery behind the three point arc with 7:44 to go in the half.
The Huskies had four players in double figures with three minutes left in the first half, led by Moore with 13, as the Huskies shot 19-for-41 from the floor for a 46.3 percentage. Doty shot 4-for-4 from behind the arc as she finished the first frame with 12 points and two rebounds.
Oklahoma’s All-American, Courtney Paris, missed her first eight shots of the game as she had eight rebounds and no points in the first half. The Sooners ended the half with an 8-0 run in the last 1:48 to come within 11 as the Huskies took a 50-39 lead into the break. Paris got on the board for the first time with a layup off an offensive rebound at the 18:55 mark of the second half then proceeded to connect on three consecutive opportunities and finished the contest with 14 points and a team-high 14 rebounds.
The Huskies’ defense was able to keep Oklahoma at bay with a 42.5 shooting percentage (17-for-40) from the floor in the second half, including a span of 4:47 in which the Sooners shot just 3-for-12 from the field. UConn out scored the Sooners 56-39 marking the Huskies’ most points in the second half this season as they shot 63.95 (23-for-36). On the night, UConn shot 54.5 percent (42-for-77) from the floor, including a 52.2 percent (12-for-23) showing from behind the arc. The Huskies were also able to out-rebound the Sooners 48-42, including 32 defensive boards.
UConn will face Holy Cross on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at Gampel Pavilion in non-conference action. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.
SCOREBOARD 1st 2nd Final 1/1 Connecticut 50 56 106 4/4 Oklahoma 39 39 78
- No. 4/4 Oklahoma marked UConn’s first ranked opponent this season.
- UConn improves to perfect 7-0 all-time vs. Oklahoma.
- UConn extends its home-court winning streak to 28 consecutive games.
- UConn has won 12 consecutive non-conference home games.
- UConn improves to 85-14 all-time in the month of November and has won 20 consecutive games during that month.
- UConn moves to 86-2 in its last 88 games at Gampel Pavilion.
- UConn improves to 15-1 all-time against opponents from the Big XII Conference.
-Tonight’s win ups UConn’s record in games played on National TV to 66-18.
-UConn is now 3-2 in its last five games at Gampel Pavilion against opponents ranked in the top-10 nationally.
- Connecticut opens the season 5-0 for the fourth straight time and the 12th in the last 13 seasons overall.
- UConn improves to 131-53 all-time against ranked opponents and 59-36 vs. foes ranked among the top 10 nationally.
- UConn has won its last 20 games overall against non-conference opponents.
- UConn improves to 267-11 on its home “courts” since the 1992-94 season.
- Renee Montgomery’s 30 points marked her 15th consecutive game with double-figure points and the 78th of her career. This also marks her 14th career game with 20-plus points and the 30 points marked a career high, passing her previous total of 27 set against Cincinnati (January 8, 2008).
- Maya Moore’s 27 points marked her 41st game in double-figure points over her 43-game career.
- Tina Charles’ 18 points marked her 56th career game in double-figures and her fifth this season.
- Caroline Doty’s 18 points marked her third game this season with double-figure points.
- Caroline Doty opened the game a perfect 4-of-4 on 3-point field goal attempts in the first half. She finished the game 6-of-6 from beyond the arc, becoming the 11th player in UConn history to be perfect from beyond the 3-point line (at least 4 attempts) and the first be 6-of-6 in a game.
- UConn had four players register double-figure points with more than three minutes remaining in the first half.
- UConn held Oklahoma All-American Courtney Paris to zero points on 0-of-7 shooting from the field in the first half. She was 0-for-8 from the field until she made her first basket at 18:55 of the second half.
- Renee Montgomery’s 30 points move her past Chris Gedney (1,409) and Peggy Walsh (1,413) into 15th place on the UConn career scoring list with her current total of 1,437.
- Renee Montgomery’s 13 assists moved her past Shea Ralph into ninth place on the UConn career assist list with her current total of 462.
- Maya Moore’s 27 points and 12 rebounds marked her 14th career double-double and her 17th career game with 20-plus points, including three this season.
-Renee Montgomery’s 13 assists tied for the highest single-game total in UConn history with Laura Lishness (January 12, 1991) and Susie Sturman (February 24, 1980).
-UConn’s 106 points marked the first time that Oklahoma has allowed over 100 points to an opponent since March 25, 2000 when it dropped a 102-80 decision vs. UConn.
-UConn’s 106 points marked the 56th time in program history that the Huskies have notched at least 100 points and the first time since January 6, 2008 against Purdue (100-50).
-Renee Montgomery’s 30 points and 13 assists marked her first career double-double in 116 career games.
-UConn has scored 91 or more points in four straight games.
-Tonight marked the first time UConn has had three players with double-doubles since February 6, 2007 against Rutgers. (Charde Houston 16 pts/11 rebs, Tina Charles 15 pts/10 rebs, and Kalana Greene 15 pts/10 rebs).
-Tonight’s 28-point win was the largest margin of victory against a AP ranked Top-5 team since they beat No. 3 Georgia 99-70 on November 12, 2000, a 29-point win.
University of Connecticut
| | |
Connecticut Head coach
Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale said that she thought you guys could win the Men’s NCAA Championship. What do you think about that?
“That’s why she’s such a good recruiter, because she just makes stuff up and says stuff that people want to hear. I just think that we are a good team that played a really good team and we played exceptionally well. Where we go from here is anybody’s guess. The goal is to play another game just like this Wednesday and then after that and after that and after that. We can put together a string of games like this and make this a standard by which we are going to play we’ll be all right. We’ll be as good as anybody, and I mean anybody that we play against, not those other guys. I didn’t expect this tonight, I’ll be honest with you.”
This seems to be the fastest, quickest team that you have had – can you address that?
“It is in the sense that the last four years we’ve not been as diversified as we are now. We can do a lot of things. We can play a lot of different styles, and that wasn’t necessarily the case the last couple of years. Someone asked me earlier today if this team was as good as the 2002 team, and I said no, it can’t be right now. That team had already won a national championship, they had four seniors in the starting lineup, and they’d been in the Final Four every year they’d been at Connecticut. They had a certain style about them that you knew every night that they were going to play better because we had better players than everyone else at every position. This team, I think we have the best point guard, and I think she proved it tonight. We’ve got the best other guy, Maya Moore, and I think she proved it again. Tina can be the best center, so we’ve got three of the key ingredients that you need and tonight was a good step to going in that direction.”
Talk about Renee Montgomery playing that many minutes with just two turnovers
“She had that look in her eye. I kept asking her every time she came over, do you need a breather, and she was adamant about not coming out. Her whole persona tonight was, ‘This is my element right now, and this is my game. I have complete control of this game.’ When I saw the stat sheet with 30 points and 13 assists, I don’t know how many of those 13 assists were for 3’s, but if they were, she accounted for almost half our points. I don’t how it gets any better than that."
What did the team do to regain composure when Oklahoma cut the lead to eight points in the second half?
“Well, sometimes it’s as simple as knocking down shots and we were just able to do that tonight. Renee [Montgomery] had an amazing, career type of night and Caroline [Doty] was hitting shots. I just think when we hit shots like that, it makes us even more exciting. It builds momentum and it just piles on until they stop us or we stop ourselves.”
How important was it to play this well against a top five team?
“I think it’s just a great feeling. The last time we came into Gampel, in our home arena, I don’t think we had the feeling of this is what we want our fans to know about us. This time, I feel like we represented what UConn basketball is supposed to look like, and we gave our fans and ourselves a great show.”
What is the feeling like when everyone on the team is hitting shots?
“It’s amazing. I think that’s one of the reasons people come to Connecticut, just to attempt to get that feeling. When everybody is on like that, it feels like you can do anything. I remember one possession we were cooking, we were flowing and Renee [Montgomery] passed me the ball and Coach said ‘Catch and shoot it.’ I caught it and shot it and it didn’t hit the rim. It went right in. It’s just a great feeling to be able to be in that zone as a team and not just have one player be that way because it’s definitely contagious.”
On her performance:
“I really think Caroline Doty opened it up for us. She hit like four three’s right up top. They were trying to help out some people and everything, and when you have other people hitting shots, you can’t really help out anyone.”
Is this the ideal way you’d like to play every game?
“Definitely – I think if we could play like that every night of course we would be ecstatic. I just think that style of play, not necessary if we hit all the shots that we hit, or we make all the great plays that we made – I just think if we play that style of basketball where we’re pushing it every time, whether it’s a make or a miss and we’re playing great defense, those are the things we can always control. As long as we’re doing that every game - that would be ideal.”
What was the game plan for tonight?
“I think our game plan was to just push the ball as much as possible because we know they’re a force in the post. So, we wanted to try to go to our strength which is fast breaks. We know that our post players can run. I think that was the main thing. Every time I caught the ball, I was looking up the court, trying to see who was running, see who had a lane, or try to take it to the lane.”
On defending Courtney Paris:
“I think it was just good. It was really efficient. It was just everything that we went over in shoot around and we accomplished it on the court. I think it was just an overall, collective effort and it turned out well.”
Head Coach Sherri Coale
“I thought Connecticut was fabulous. I told Geno (Auriemma) after the game that if you play like that and you shoot like that, you might win the men’s national championship. We didn’t particularly defend well but we didn’t play that poorly either. There were 16 turnovers in the game. It was just a beautiful women’s basketball game. They shot the ball extraordinarily well. We didn’t contest well; we gave them too many open three’s. Maya Moore is an animal.”
On Caroline Doty’s six-for-six three-point shooting
“It wasn’t a good sign. Looking at their first half three-point shooting percentage, I said in the locker room, ‘This can’t continue. Keep guarding them, this can’t continue.’ Lo and behold it continued.”
Do you have to have to give Connecticut three-point shots in order to contain Maya Moore and Tina Charles?
“You pick your poison and they got a lot of three’s because they beat us down the floor in transition and we had stop the lane, stop the ball, look where she (Caroline Doty) was and we couldn’t get matched up quickly enough. I though coming in that their transition game was just unlike any other and we just played (North) Carolina and Carolina is known for their transition. This was a different deal. Then you get so worried about making sure they don’t go by you with their speed, both Maya Moore and Renee Montgomery that all of a sudden you take a step inside and there’s Doty. She made a couple of free three’s but a couple of them were fairly contested, fairly rushed, one’s I’ve seen her miss many times on film. She sure didn’t tonight.”
Is this UConn’s best performance you’ve seen?
“I think so. I sat there is the second half and I said that this is the best we’ve ever played against them and we’re down 25. We played them with (Diana) Taurasi and (Sue) Bird and the whole crew. I don’t know that I’ve seen them play better than they did tonight.”
On Renee Montgomery’s performance
“I looked at her line at half time and I told TK, my assistant coach, that’s a great line at the end of the game. At half time she had nine assists, six rebounds and 13 points, something like that, and it just continued. When she’s in the zone, I’ve said that she may be the best point guard in America, because she gets it. She can score going to the rim. She can shoot a pull up. She can shoot a three. She can distribute, but she gets the management of the game. I think maybe she took two questionable shots tonight. Geno will probably say she took six or seven, but I think she took two that were maybe questionable. Otherwise, she just made beautiful decisions and what she did was go right at her (Danielle Robinson) when she got in foul trouble and that was a problem. That is her (Renee Montgomery) senior experience.”
Sophomore Guard Danielle Robinson
What did you see in that second half run when their lead went from eight to 20 in about three minutes?
“Coach had talked about us coming out better in the second half and I think we did a great job of cutting it to eight. Like Coach talked about, Maya Moore just hit shot after shot after shot and we tried to contest her.”
Senior Center Courtney Paris
What impressed you most about Tina Charles and Kaili McLaren?
“They just did a good job of pushing out and Tina especially is so athletic so we rushed a lot of stuff, just took it in. We just blew it instead of calming down and looking at the target. They just did a good job.”