An 11-0 run to close out the first half by the No. 1 UConn Huskies was all they needed as they cruised to a 72-42 win over the Villanova Wildcats to advance to the finals of the Big East Women’s Tournament at the XL Center tomorrow night.

Connecticut's Maya Moore goes up for a layup in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big East Conference women's basketball tournament semifinal round in Hartford, Conn., Monday, March 9, 2009 as Villanova's Siobhan O'Connor watches.  UConn defeated Villanova 72-42 to advance to the championship round of the tournament. (AP Photo/Bob Child)The Huskies move to 32-0 on the season and will face the winner of Louisville/Pittsburgh in the finals tomorrow night at 7 PM on ESPN. It’s the 5th straight season UConn has advanced to the finals.

Maya Moore led the Huskies with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 6 steals. Tina Charles chipped in with 16 points and 7 rebounds while Renee Montgomery added 12 points. Kalana Green had 11 points and Tiffany Hayes led the Huskies with 6 assists.

The Wildcats were led by Tia Grant who had 13 points while Siobhan O’Conner added 11 points.  Lisa Karcic added 7 points and after a great game against Notre Dame, Laura Kurz was held scoreless.

UConn started out quickly getting out to a 12-4 lead. Villanova kept it close though using a 5-point run to cut the lead to 3.  The Huskies worked their lead to 22-11 before the Wildcats used their long-range shooting to get back into the game going on a 15-4 run to tie the game up at 26.

As the Huskies have done all season long when facing adversity, they responded and responded big time as they closed the half out on an 11-0 run to take a 37-26 lead at the break.

The second saw the Huskies continue the run as they outscored the Wildcats 12-2 to start the half to open up a 20 point lead. After that, the Huskies continued to increase their lead and keep the Wildcats at bay as they scored just 16 points over the final 24 minutes of the game.

An absolutely amazing performance on defense tonight by Hayes on Kurz. Kurz came into the game averaging 18.1 points and had a streak of 27 games in double digits snapped. It’s not something that will show up in the box score but you would have to think Geno Auriemma is proud of his freshman guard. She has improved a 1,000% this season on defense.

Notes and musings:

Villanova Wildcats vs UConn Huskies 3.9.09 women’s basketball box score

The starters were Renee Montgomery, Tiffany Hayes, Kalana Greene, Maya Moore and Tina Charles.

UConn’s 32-0 start marks its best since finishing the 2002 campaign a perfect 39-0.

UConn’s current senior class boasts an all-time record of 132-11 in Storrs.

UConn extends its winning streak against non-ranked opponents to 114 consecutive games.

Maya Moore’s six steals marked a career high.

UConn’s 30-point win today marked its 18th win by a margin of 30 or more this season

The Huskies shot 56.4% (31-of-55) from the floor while the Wildcats shot 30.6% (15-of-49).

UConn had 16 assists on their 31 made baskets.

Villanova made more three-pointers (8) than field goals (7).

UConn was 6-of-7 (83.3%) from the free throw line.

The Huskies outrebounded Villanova 32-23 and outscored them 46-4 in the paint.

They also outscored them 12-0 on the fastbreak.

UConn forced Villanova into 19 turnovers converting them into 24 points. ‘Nova had just 3 points off of 10 UConn turnovers.

Villanova’s bench outscored UConn’s 24-14.