SYRACUSE, N.Y—— There seems to be a popular misconception about Geno Auriemma, coach of the top-ranked UConn women. The guy knows a lot. He's in the Hall of Fame.
But it turns out he may not know everything there is to know about everything.
Box Score: UConn vs. Syracuse
Wednesday morning, he watched Maya Moore miss a few shots at the team's shootaround and told anyone who cared to listen that the reigning national player of the year would have a bad game against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.
"Maya wants to do everything great and it's hard for a kid her age to do that," Auriemma said at the time.
By now, you figure Geno would know better than to doubt perhaps the nation's purest talent. She had a bad morning. But the night belonged to her.
"She was phenomenal tonight," Auriemma said. "It was an unbelievable performance. She's a unique player, a unique individual."
Moore, who scored 40 against the Orange last year, had 38 points and a career-high 20 rebounds in 32 scintillating minutes to lead UConn to an 87-66 victory before 3,230.
Moore was 12-for-19 from the floor, 4-for-6 on three-pointers. She hit 10 of 11 free throws and had 14 defensive rebounds, three assists, two blocks and three steals.
"A monster game," Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said.
The only previous 30-20 game in the UConn women's program was produced by Rebecca Lobo.
UConn needed Moore's performance because the Orange turned Tina Charles into an offensive accessory part, holding her to a season-low three points and five rebounds in 25 minutes. Charles did have five blocks.
But even when Charles is not in charge, there's still a major fire to stamp out.
And who has the power to stop Moore?
"What was I most happy about? The rebounds," Moore said. "I usually hear in practice that I can't rebound, I'm a bad rebounder. It's nice to come out here and do what I know I can do."
Incredibly, Charles, soon to be UConn's all-time scoring and rebounding leader, took only four shots.
But sophomore Tiffany Hayes scored 22 points to help UConn (28-0, 14-0) to its 67th consecutive victory and at least a share of the Big East regular season championship.