HARTFORD, Conn. - Men's teams. Women's teams. No. 89 belongs to UConn. It beats them all.
The No. 1-ranked Huskies women's basketball team topped the 88-game winning streak set by John Wooden's UCLA men's team from 1971-74, beating No. 22 Florida State, 93-62, last night.
Playing with the relentlessness that has become its trademark - and would have made Wooden proud - Connecticut blew past the Seminoles as it has so many other teams in the last 2 1/2 years.
Maya Moore had a double-double with a career-high 41 points and 10 rebounds and Bria Hartley added 21 points for the Huskies, who have not lost since April 6, 2008, in the NCAA tournament semifinals. Only twice during the record run has a team come within single digits of UConn - Stanford in the NCAA championship game last season and Baylor in early November.
When the final buzzer sounded, UConn players sprinted across the floor to shake hands with the student section as fans held up signs with "89" and the Huskies logo on them. A couple of other fans raised a banner that read "The Sorcerer of Storrs." After a brief huddle in front of their bench, UConn players re-emerged wearing "89 and Counting" T-shirts.
"I'm not John Wooden and this isn't UCLA," coach Geno Auriemma said. "This is Connecticut, and that's good enough."
It is one more chapter of history for UConn, and perhaps the grandest.
Connecticut long ago established itself as the marquee program in the women's game. The Huskies already own seven national titles and four perfect seasons under Auriemma, and they've produced a galaxy of stars that includes Rebecca Lobo, Diana Taurasi, Jennifer Rizzotti, Sue Bird and Tina Charles.
The streak, though, takes it to another level, certainly raising the profile of women's basketball and maybe all of women's athletics.
Two days after beating No. 11 Ohio State to tie UCLA, UConn toppled the mark in front of a sellout crowd of 16,294 at the XL Center that included Wooden's grandson, Greg, attending his first women's game.
"My grandfather would have been thrilled," the 47-year-old Wooden said. " He would have been absolutely thrilled to see his streak broken by a women's basketball team. He thought, especially in the last 10 years, that the best basketball was played at the collegiate level - and it wasn't by the men."
John Wooden, the beloved Wizard of Westwood, died June 4 at age 99.
There was a festive atmosphere throughout the city, where building lights gleamed blue and white, and it was as electric as any Final Four inside the arena. Charles and UConn men's star Kemba Walker sat behind the Huskies' bench, and football coach Randy Edsall was there, too. Former NFL star Warrick Dunn, meanwhile, was cheering for his alma mater, Florida State.