NEW YORK - When it comes to the Connecticut women's basketball team, friendships cannot get in the way of the Huskies' attack on the record books.
Coach Geno Auriemma's two-time defending NCAA champions quickly extinguished any notion that No. 8 Ohio State and his former boss, Jim Foster, might have had of pulling a major upset Sunday afternoon. The Huskies rolled to an 81-50 victory over the Buckeyes at Madison Square Garden.
That triumph enabled top-ranked UConn (10-0) to match the Division I college basketball record of 88 straight wins established by the UCLA men's team (1971-74) under John Wooden.
UConn can establish a new standard Tuesday night when the Huskies host No. 11 Florida State at the XL Center in Hartford. The 7 p.m. game will be televised on ESPN2.
Foster hired Auriemma, who grew up in Norristown, as an assistant girls' coach at Bishop Kenrick High in the 1970s. Foster then kept him as an aide when he was hired to coach the St. Joseph's women before the 1978-79 season.
Ohio State (8-2) opened the game with a 6-0 lead on a pair of three-pointers by Brittany Johnson in front of 15,232, the second-largest crowd to watch a women's game in the Garden. Then the Huskies took off on a 13-0 run and went on to hand the Buckeyes the same one-sided setback they had dealt opponents in 85 of the 87 previous victories.
Stanford (in last April's NCAA title game) and No. 2 Baylor (last month in Hartford) were the only two opponents during this run to come within single digits of beating the Huskies.
Foster was asked what he said to Auriemma after the game.
"Congratulations," he said. "There's not much you can say. They played very well. They've earned everything. I don't think you need to say anything more."
Tiffany Hayes scored 26 points to lead UConn while senior Maya Moore, likely the No. 1 overall pick in the next WNBA draft, scored 22. Freshman Stefanie Dolson, a 6-foot-5 center from Port Jervis, N.Y., went up against Ohio State all-American Jantel Lavender and pulled down 15 rebounds.
Lavender, who had been averaging 26.6 points per game, was held to 14 points, the same total collected by Buckeyes teammate Tayler Hill.
Auriemma said he had former UCLA star Gail Goodrich as a guest at Sunday's game, although Goodrich did not play on any of the Bruins teams involved in the streak.
The debate will continue over whether the 88 straight wins are comparable between the UCLA men and the UConn women.
"One thing that is nonnegotiable is the one thing we have in common," Auriemma said. "We settle for nothing less than the absolute best that we can give you every single night and day, and there are very few people that do that.
"They did it and we're doing it. Everything else is meaningless."