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Women's roundup

ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published January 17, 2004

Huskies say have some perspective

The tide is turning in Storrs.

Connecticut, the program that was 37-1 last season and 39-0 in 2001-02, has lost two of its past four. UConn's 66-51 loss at Notre Dame on Tuesday night came less than a week after the Huskies' 69-game home winning streak ended in a 68-67 loss to then-No. 4 Duke.

UConn saw its streak of 45 consecutive regular-season victories and 121 consecutive wins over unranked opponents end. The loss to the Irish was the first in double digits since the Huskies lost to Notre Dame in the 2001 Final Four.

UConn had won 33 straight on the road since a 92-88 loss at Tennessee in 2001.

Coach Geno Auriemma hasn't hit the panic button, but he thinks fans and analysts should get more realistic where his team is concerned.

"Maybe the expectations are too high right now," he said. "Maybe we're supposed to have one of those six- or seven-loss years like other people have every 10 to 15 years."

Maybe. But considering their past success, that's hard to fathom. The Huskies have lost just seven times in the past 162 games. The last time they lost six in one season was 1992-93, when they went 18-11.

Auriemma has been warning since October that this team isn't infallible. Few were listening. After all, this is the same program coming off consecutive national titles.

This season, star guard Diana Taurasi is struggling and her supporting cast - forward Barbara Turner, guard Ann Strother and guard Maria Conlon - isn't helping out much.

UConn gets a chance to bounce back today when it hosts No. 22 Boston College at noon.

By the numbers

The Big 12 continues to make its case for being one of the best leagues in the country. Teams closed out the regular-season nonconference schedule last week with a 113-27 (80.7) record. The Big 12 leads the nation in winning percentage (80.7). Big 12 teams have played nine teams in the Top 10 and are 4-5 in those contests.

SUNDAY No. 6 Minnesota (14-0) at No. 9 Purdue (13-2), 1: The Golden Gophers are the only undefeated team in the country; Purdue is on a four-game winning streak.

No. 20 Auburn at Vanderbilt, 5:30, ESPN

MONDAY

Rutgers at No. 4 UConn, 2, ESPN2.

Off the rim

The throwbacks are getting to be huge drawing cards.

Last week, the marketing department at Florida gave throwback jerseys to fans attending the game vs. Vanderbilt at the O'Connell Center. Georgia is promoting a similar campaign for the Gators' arrival Sunday.

The first 1,000 fans 14 and younger will receive a free throwback replica jersey. The jerseys are modeled after those worn by the Bulldogs during the mid 1980s and feature the original version of the "Lady Bulldog G."

"I think it's a great promotion," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "I think it's the most popular promotion we have had here at Georgia, and that's why it has stuck around. It's neat to give away the jerseys to the kids because I continue to see them. The rest of the year, the stands will be full of those things. They wear them to the games. I see them during the summer. I know it's something the young kids enjoy."

Landers is two wins shy of his 600th at Georgia. The No. 11 Bulldogs are in the midst of a 23-game home winning streak, the third longest in the nation. Georgia is 33-8 overall and 17-2 versus Florida in Athens. The Bulldogs have won nine of their last 11 vs. the Gators.

Quotable

"It's been real important for our fans. They were pretty crazed and rabid about it before, but you have that feeling that everyone is abuzz about what's going on with these players. They are such a fun group to watch and people have been brought together even more because of the enthusiasm of our fans and the work they put on the floor. We sold out last Saturday, and that's so much fun to be a part of."

- Texas Tech coach Marsha Sharp on the school's first regular-season No. 1 ranking. The Raiders are No. 1 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, No. 2 in the AP poll. It is the first No. 1 ranking for a Big 12 team since the inception of the league in 1996-97.

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