Sometimes life gives you lemons, sometimes life gives you Maya Moore.
Unfortunately for Marquette, Connecticut had Maya and Marquette now has a 7-2 overall record and a 0-1 record in the Big East. UConn improved to 9-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big East with a 79-47 victory in Storrs, CT.
UConn started the game on fire. There was great ball movement, cutting, and teamwork. UConn was rewarded with a 11 point lead 3:24 into the game. The Golden Eagles then played UConn even for the rest of the half.
What was the issue, you ask? Four UConn players, started watching the ‘Maya Moore Show.'
Most people would admit that it's a darn good show to watch, except when you are supposed to be playing with her.
Connecticut Huskies coach Geno Auriemma weighed in. "Well, the first five or six minutes I thought we were in good shape," Auriemma said. "We seemed to be getting the ball where we wanted to get it, doing some of the things that we wanted to do, and all of the sudden it became stand around and watch the game instead of play the game."
UConn did not separate themselves from Marquette until others started getting involved. Moore had 29 points with 15:40 left in the second half, but UConn only had a 15 point lead. Once others started to get in the flow of the offense, Moore only scored 2 additional points but the Huskies extended their lead to as many as 35.
"Coach was saying that we can't have Maya doing everything and all the rest of us just sit back and watch. We have to get involved," UConn junior Tiffany Hayes said. "It is always dangerous to just watch. When you watch, you are just standing there and when you are just standing there, you get in trouble. We never just want to watch, we always want to get involved in the offense."
UConn was not alone in their awe of Maya Moore. Marquette often lost Moore on the defensive end. Marquette coach Terri Mitchell took notice.
"23 (Moore) is pretty good and we lost her. I was disappointed in that in the 1st half and it continued in the second," Mitchell said. "Sneaky is a good word. She was sneaking behind our zone. She is unflappable. She is the fiercest competitor out there. She keeps her teammates involved."
Mitchell also had great comments about Angel Robinson. Robinson has had her recent struggles against UConn going 0-23 and scoring a total of 1 point during her last 2 outings against the Huskies. She left that all behind and scored 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists.
"Angel is having a terrific season," Mitchell added. "She is a competitor and she is healthy. She wants it badly and is hungry. Angel will do great things for us. I think there is another level in her game."
Marquette also got solid contributions from Courtney Weibel who scored 9 points and collect 5 rebounds.
UConn was led in scoring by Moore's 31 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 assists, 4 steals, and I am pretty sure I saw her save a kitten from a burning building. Or perhaps not. Hayes and freshman Bria Hartley both added 16 points apiece.
Samarie Walker had 13 rebounds. Rebounding continues to be an area of concern for UConn. They had a considerable height advantage but only managed to outrebound the Golden Eagles 42-40.
The Huskies have 9 days off for final exams and next tip off against #7 Ohio State at the Maggie Dixon Classic, for potential consecutive win #88.
Most of the talk centered on the streak after the game. In fact, the streak over shadowed the game that was played. There was little talk of schemes and results and more on the mystique and historical significance.
The freshman portray that they are not a part of the streak. Maya Moore believes she is a part of 2 different teams. This team and the team she was on her first 3 years. Auriemma believes they already have the only streak that matters, the women's consecutive wins streak. It is us, the media that is trying to put a spin on this that the program does not seem to have.
"I can't hide it from them," Auriemma said. "I can't make them think it is not something they are going to have to address at some point. There is nothing I can do about it. We have an opportunity to do something that's pretty significant in terms of the basketball world. The basketball world views that number, as pretty significant."
How significant remains to be seen. The most important thing that UConn has to do is make sure that they are not making "the streak" more important than "the game".