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Things went from so bad to so good quickly for Huskies

By Vickie Fulkerson

Publication: The Day

Published April 07. 2010 4:00AM

San Antonio - Geno Auriemma shared with the media earlier this season that he carries a book, written by hall of fame men's basketball coach John Wooden, in his briefcase.

But …

"There's absolutely no chapters and no pages on, 'Here's how you can win a game if you shoot 15 percent in the first half,'" Auriemma said to laughter in the interview room late Tuesday night. "Maybe because this team's never shot 15 percent in the first half.

"So I should write that chapter."

On a night the UConn women's basketball team became among the most celebrated in the history of the sport, finishing back-to-back unbeaten seasons for the first time ever, it also set the record for fewest points in a half in a Final Four game.

Any Final Four game. Ever.

Twelve.

"I can't even imagine them only scoring 12 points," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.

UConn, which won its seventh national championship, beating Stanford 53-47, came into the game averaging 81.8 points per game.

The Huskies, in five previous NCAA tournament games, had scored 95, 90, 74, 90 and 70. They set the record for largest margin of victory ever in a regional final when they beat Florida State in Dayton, Ohio, 90-50, on March 30.

Auriemma joked Monday about the fact that both UConn and Stanford were so prolific in scoring that the game might be 90-87 if the teams failed to defend, following a Sunday night in which UConn's Maya Moore (34 points) and Stanford's Nneka Ogumwike (38 points) marked the first time two players ever broke the 30-point margin on the same day in the national semifinals.

Then Tuesday, Auriemma just kept looking at the players and coaches on the UConn bench for answers.

"I've never seen anything like it. Ever," Auriemma said. "There was a point in time where it looked like we may never score again. That's what I felt like. I remember turning around one time and just staring at the bench and looking at the other coaches and just shaking my head … and this feeling of, 'We're not going to score any more points.'"

"We knew we weren't going to finish the game the way we started," said Moore, who ignited a 17-2 run immediately to start the second half. "As far as our motivation, I mean, we knew what we had to do. It's just that simple. You just have to focus on the little things that we've been working on all year."

Moore was 2-for-8 in the first half for five points. UConn was 5-for-29 for 17.2 percent.

The Huskies couldn't even make a free throw, going 0-for-4.

They had one assist.

Overall, it was the lowest number of points and the lowest field goal percentage (.328) during UConn's NCAA record 78-game winning streak.

It was the Huskies' largest halftime deficit of the season.

"We didn't run a single play we had practiced since day one," Moore said of the first half. "Our offense was completely out of whack. … I think we were tentative for some reason and we had to come out in our last half and not let our seniors go out like that.

"Now we're champions."

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