BATON ROUGE, La. — An LSU team with seven seniors who have never missed the Final Four had no answer for Connecticut's fabulous freshman.
Maya Moore scored 18 of her 29 in the second half to lift top-ranked Connecticut to a 74-69 victory over No. 6 LSU on Monday night, snapping the Tigers' 14-game winning streak.
So much for any notion that Moore, making her first trip to Baton Rouge for her first game against LSU, might fall victim to nerves or inexperience.
"She's just a unique individual," said UConn coach Geno Auriemma, who should know after winning five national titles in 23 years with the Huskies.
"The shots that she can make, nobody else can make under those conditions. She never loses her composure," Auriemma said. "When she gets the ball in her hands, I don't care where it is, if it's at LSU or against Stony Brook in the first game of the year, the kid has a certain presence about her that very few people have. I don't think there's anybody in the country who has a psychological advantage over her."
LSU coach Van Chancellor, who has won Olympics and WNBA titles, seemed to agree. He found Moore after the game and shook her hand, telling her, "You're a very special freshman."
Moore shot 10-of-17, including two 3-pointers, and made all seven free throws.
"I really wasn't nervous at all," Moore said. "I was just excited to play. After my first few college games, those nerves kind of left. I don't want to allow myself to be nervous and have it affect my game. Offensively, you can say this has been one of my best games. I think it was a step forward."
Sophomore center Tina Charles added 18 points, converting several clutch baskets inside over 6-foot-6 LSU senior center Sylvia Fowles.
NO. 2 UNC 85, N.C. STATE 79: Erlana Larkins scored 18 and the host Tar Heels clinched a share of the ACC title. North Carolina went ahead to stay by outscoring the Wolfpack 20-10 in a seven-minute stretch that bridged halftime to win its ninth straight.
INDIANA 69, NO. 18 OHIO ST. 61, OT: Jamie Braun scored 19, including two clinching free throws with 39 seconds left in overtime for the host Hoosiers. The Buckeyes' Jantel Lavender hit a layup with 29 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 54.
AP POLL: Marist rode its 16-game winning streak into the Top 25 for the first time, coming in at No. 25. It is the first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference team to be ranked since La Salle made the final poll of the 1989 season. Connecticut remained No. 1. Wyoming re-entered, and Syracuse and Pittsburgh fell out.
Men: Big East
NO. 21 MARQUETTE 85, VILLANOVA 75: Dominic James scored 25 and Lazar Hayward added 15 points and nine rebounds to lead the visiting Golden Eagles to their fourth straight win and eighth in 10 games. Marquette made 10 of 23 3-pointers to 2-of-15 for the Wildcats.
NO. 5 TEXAS 74, KANSAS ST. 65: D.J. Augustin had 24 points and A.J. Abrams scored all of his 13 in the second half as the visiting Longhorns won their eighth straight. Texas is 8-0 in February, matching a school record set in 1962-63.
NO. 12 INDIANA: Former coach Kelvin Sampson's separation agreement with the university will not be finalized until March 17. Sampson signed the deal Friday, but university spokesman Larry MacIntyre said the ex-coach has 21 days to revoke the deal that includes provisions which prevent Sampson from suing the university.
AP POLL: Tennessee ascended to No. 1 for the first time in its 99-year history. Kent State joined the poll for the first time ever at No. 23. Gonzaga re-entered the poll at No. 24 after a nine-week absence. Texas A&M and Kansas State fell out.