Hayes Continues Hot Streak

HARTFORD, Conn. – Tiffany Hayes has taken her game to a new level. And it might be time for the world of women's basketball to sit up and take notice.

Hayes, coming off a 35-point performance against Syracuse on Wednesday night, had 33 points and 10 rebounds Saturday as No. 3 Connecticut took a close game at halftime and turned it into a 77-62 victory over South Florida at the XL Center.

Those 68 points are the most ever by a Husky in back-to-back games. Given the long list of great players at UConn, that's saying something.

"[Hayes] was just great," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "I think she was a huge factor at both ends. It's not like she started out great and kept building. She struggled a little early, then got it back together and made some nice plays. She played a lot of minutes against a team that's really difficult to play against."

Hayes dedicated her performance to former UConn football player Jasper "Jazz" Howard, her close friend who was stabbed to death on campus in October 2009. It was Howard's birthday on Saturday.

And Saturday marked Hayes' 10th consecutive game in double figures and 18th this season.

"I definitely want to be that player that people can look up to and say, ‘Ok, she's gonna get it done for us.' So I'm definitely going to try to do that down the road and not slack off," Hayes said.

The results for UConn (19-2, 8-1 Big East) were historic. The Huskies posted their 97th consecutive home win. And Auriemma moved past Georgia's Andy Landers and into sole possession of sixth place all-time with 790 career coaching victories.

The victory didn't come easy for the Huskies, who were challenged by a very solid USF team. The Huskies went into the half with a 36-33 lead after USF converted 11 UConn turnovers into 13 points.

"They're a tough bunch," Auriemma said of USF. "We made a bunch of mistakes in the first half, but we only made one mistake in the second."

In the second half, a three-point play by Hayes seemed to spark the Huskies and they went on a 17-5 run to open the game up. Stefanie Dolson tied a season high with 22 points and she also gathered 18 rebounds as UConn had the inside-outside game working.

"Coach challenged the bigs to be what we are, which is a big," Dolson said. The Huskies outrebounded the Bulls 53-28 with 20 of those being on the offensive end.

The Bulls were led by center Caitlin Rowe who scored a career-high 20 points. Inga Orekhova registered 16 points and made five three-pointers that helped the Bulls in the game. Caroline Doty returned to the starting lineup for the Huskies and played 26 minutes after missing the previous game with an injury. She finished with three points.

The Huskies have a quick turnaround as they head to Durham, N.C., to face the No. 5 Duke Monday (7p.m., ESPN2).

"You always look forward to being in the gym with the [Cameron] Crazies," Hayes said. "You've just got to go out there and be mentally ready because it's loud in there and you're not going to be able to hear yourself think. So you definitely have to prepare before you go into a gym like that."

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