COLUMBIA, S.C. — UConn coach Gene Auriemma smiled at his three senior starters, savoring the latest virtuoso performance on the big stage by Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson — and fretting about their departure next season.
"I carry five cellphones now with all the coaches who want to schedule us next year when these guys leave," Auriemma said Monday night.
Count South Carolina coach Dawn Staley among them after Stewart, Tuck and Jefferson combined for 53 points in No. 1 UConn's 66-54 blowout of the second-ranked Gamecocks.
Stewart led the way with 25 points, Tuck had 16 points and Jefferson 12 as the Huskies (23-0) won their 60th straight game and improved to 19-3 in No. 1-vs.-No. 2 matchups.
"These games are a lot of fun," said Stewart, who also had 10 rebounds and five blocks. "They are exciting for us."
Auriemma said his players soaked in the anticipation of the season's biggest game and played with a fire in front of a sold-out, 18,000-seat arena.
"The fun part is the look in their eyes," he said.
Stewart finished with her ninth double double this season. The 6-foot-4 senior also played strong defense against inside stars A'ja Wilson and Alaina Coates. The Gamecocks duo, averaging 28 points combined this season, ended with 15.
UConn handed the Gamecocks (22-1) their first loss here since they fell to Texas A&M 50-48 on Feb. 10, 2013.
NO. 7 OHIO ST. 94, NO. 5 MARYLAND 86: Kelsey Mitchell had 33 points for the host Buckeyes (19-4, 11-1 Big Ten), who broke a first-place tie with the Terrapins (21-3, 10-2).
AP POLL: USF fell three spots to 22nd, Florida moved up six to 16th and Florida State held steady at 10th. DePaul re-entered at No. 23 and West Virginia came back at No. 24. Missouri and Washington dropped out.
DUKE 72, NO. 13 LOUISVILLE 65: Freshman Brandon Ingram had 18 points and 10 rebounds as the host Blue Devils (18-6, 7-4 ACC) held off the Cardinals (19-5, 8-3) to beat a ranked team for the first time this season.
NO. 3 OKLA. 63, NO. 24 TEXAS 60: Buddy Hield scored 27 and hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with one second left as the host Sooners (20-3, 8-3 Big 12) rallied to beat the Longhorns (16-8, 7-4).
AP POLL: Villanova is No. 1 for the first time in school history. No. 23 Southern Cal and No. 24 Texas joined, replacing Indiana and South Carolina.