NEW YORK – This piece of history has been in the making for more than two years. Now, the Connecticut women’s basketball team has just about made it.
The top-ranked Huskies beat No. 11 Ohio State 81-50 on Sunday before 15,232, the second-largest crowd ever to watch a women’s basketball game at Madison Square Garden. It was UConn’s 88th consecutive victory, tying the record set by the UCLA men’s team in 1974, the longest winning streak in Division I college basketball history.
UConn fans, a majority in the building, chanted “eighty-eight … eighty-eight” as time expired.
Tiffany Hayes led the Huskies with 26 points and Maya Moore had 22. A major key to this game, though, was freshman Stefanie Dolson, who pulled in 11 rebounds in the first half and won her matchup with Ohio State All-America center Jantel Lavender. Dolson, who has been urged by coach Geno Auriemma and teammates to be more aggressive in fighting for rebounds, broke through in this game with 15 total.
Ohio State figured to pose a threat and jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but then the Huskies put together one of their familiar spurts, 16-2, to take the lead. UConn led 40-26 at the half, and continued to pull away.
The large crowd came to Madison Square Garden, long considered a mecca of basketball, for the Maggie Dixon Classic.
UConn is a regular participant in this tournament, and this year brought the chance to make history, tying one of the best-known and most revered records in sports.