No. 1/1 Connecticut, No. 9/9 West Virginia, DePaul and Rutgers all won on Thursday night. UConn knocked off Marquette 79-47, while WVU edged Villanova 39-36 and Rutgers upset No. 11/12 Georgetown 70-53. In non-league action, No. 24/RV DePaul beat Loyola-Chicago 80-48.
Senior Maya Moore scored a season-high 31 points as UConn (9-0, 2-0 BIG EAST) pulled within a game of the Division I record 88-game winning streak set by John Wooden's UCLA men's team in 1974.
Junior Tiffany Hayes and freshman Bria Hartley each added 16 points for the Huskies who don't play again until Dec. 19 against No. 6/6 Ohio State at Madison Square Garden.
"Obviously we have an opportunity to do something that's pretty significant in terms of the basketball world," UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. "The basketball world views that number as a really significant number."
Moore shot 12-of-18 from the field and had eight rebounds, four steals and five blocks.
"It's not that complicated," Auriemma said. "Maya is really good and she makes our team what we are. Everyone that's watched us play knows that."
Senior Angel Robinson led Marquette (7-2) with 15 points.
Marquette head coach Terri Mitchell said she will be rooting for (the streak) to happen, and believes everyone in the basketball world should be talking about what UConn has accomplished.
"It's special," she said. "I'm watching it because it's history. I'm living history right now and that's worth talking about."
In Villanova, Pa., West Virginia senior Liz Repella scored 14 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:26 left, and the Mountaineers (9-0, 1-0 BIG EAST) survived a 15-point second half in a three-point victory over Villanova. It was West Virginia’s first win at Villanova in 13 tries.
West Virginia also matched the best start in school history, but it wasn’t easy. WVU won despite shooting 17-of-44 from the field (39 percent), including 2-of-11 (18 percent) from 3-point range. The Mountaineers, who led 24-12 at halftime also committed 19 turnovers.
“It’s always good to struggle and win,” West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. “I’d rather win ugly than lose ugly.”
With opportunities to tie it up in the final seconds, the Wildcats missed two 3-pointers.
Junior forward Lindsay Kimmel led the Wildcats (5-4, 0-1 BIG EAST) with 12 points.
Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer told sophomore Monique Oliver before the game to just focus on being aggressive.
The second-year center listened and had career-highs of 21 points and 17 rebounds while junior April Sykes added 17 points to help
Rutgers (6-3, 1-0 BIG EAST) beat No. 11/12 Georgetown 70-53.
The Scarlet Knights dominated the boards, including having a 21-11 rebounding edge on the offensive end. They took 43 free throws compared to Georgetown’s 18. Rutgers has won 17 of the 20 meetings between the schools.
“We knew we had to outrebound them and needed to attack,” Stringer said. “As key as it is that Monique Oliver had 17 rebounds, she was 15-of-21 from the foul line. That was a conscious effort to drive.”
Sophomore Sugar Rodgers scored 19 points and classmate Rubylee Wright added 13 for Georgetown (7-3, 0-1 BIG EAST).
In nonconference action, DePaul sophomore Katherine Harry scored a career-high 20 points and No. 24/RV DePaul (10-1) claimed an 80-48 victory over Loyola-Chicago.
Harry shot 9-of-9 from the field and had 12 rebounds while teammates Felicia Chester and Sam Quigley both added 12 points as the Blue Demons won their seventh straight game. Chester added eight rebounds.
DePaul overcame poor early shooting to build leads as large as 22 points late in the first half and were up 42-21 at halftime.
“Katherine became a rebounding monster later in the game,” DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said. Then the coach turned to Harry and said: “But how many did your get the first four minutes?”
Harry, who was pulled from the game early, looked over at Bruno and said: “None. I didn’t even touch the ball.”
Material from interviews, the Associated Press wire service as well as league and team sources was used in this report.