Moore leads No. 1 UConn to rout of Syracuse

Maya Moore scored 23 points and top-ranked Connecticut routed Syracuse 82-47 on Monday night to clinch its ninth undefeated Big East regular season.

Tiffany Hayes added 18 points for UConn (29-1, 16-0), which has won 17 straight games since its lone loss of the season to Stanford on Dec. 30 that snapped the Huskies' record 90-game winning streak.

UConn blew the game open early scoring 18 of the game's first 22 points. Syracuse (21-8, 9-7) couldn't get within single digits the rest of the game.

The night belonged to Moore.

Before the game, her name and number were unveiled high above the court in the Huskies of Honor section of Gampel Pavilion along with the 12 other UConn women's greats, Geno Auriemma and the 1994-95 and 1999-00 teams.

The three-time All-American joined former teammates Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles as the only players to be given that honor while still playing for the Huskies. The other 10 players, which include former stars Rebecca Lobo, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, were enshrined after they were done playing.

After having three players honored in the last three seasons, it might be awhile before another Husky is put up there.

Moore and senior teammate Lorin Dixon were honored before the game. Moore, who is usually unflappable, was tearing up as the UConn public address announcer read off all she's accomplished in her four years at the school.

Every time she seemed ready to break down, her grandfather would pump his fist and she'd crack a smile. She shared a long embrace with Auriemma on the court and blew kisses to the crowd while saying thank you.

The pair of seniors are the most successful duo in NCAA history, winning 143 of their 146 collegiate games. It won't be Dixon and Moore's last home game as the Huskies will host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.

Moore has made a habit of picking apart Syracuse during her career. She had a career-high 40 points as a sophomore and then scored 38 points and had 20 rebounds against them last season.

On Monday night, she helped UConn to it's early lead. She had six during the opening spurt hitting pull-up jumpers and a turnaround from the baseline.

When Syracuse closed within 20-9, Moore hit three straight shots and Dixon followed with six points of her own, including a rare 3-pointer, to blow the game wide open.

UConn led 49-20 at the half.

Moore, who hit 11 of her 13 shots, had the team's first seven points of the second half and moved into 11th on the NCAA career scoring list, passing Middle Tennessee State great Alysha Clark.

Her 3-pointer nearly 3 minutes into the second half made it 56-22 and it only got worse for the Orange. She left for good with 8:31 left to a rousing ovation from the crowd.

Iasia Hemingway scored 13 points and Erica Morrow had 11 to lead Syracuse.

It was the Huskies' 78th consecutive victory at home and 66th straight conference win.

Back in October, Auriemma said it would be extremely difficult to think that the Huskies could go undefeated in the conference for a third straight season with the loss of player of the year Tina Charles and Kalana Greene.

Yet, the Huskies did it.

They clinched the Big East regular season championship Saturday with their victory over Georgetown. Commissioner John Marinatto presented them with the Big East regular season trophy at the end of the game.

UConn has a bye in the Big East tournament until the conference quarterfinals on Sunday. If they win, Connecticut could potentially have to play three games in three days. Usually that's not a huge issue, but with backup center Heather Buck on crutches — out for at least two weeks with a stress reaction in her left foot — Auriemma has only eight players in uniform.