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Doty, Hayes 'living the dream' as part of remarkable streak

Hartford - UConn coach Geno Auriemma saves some of his best rants for sophomores Caroline Doty and Tiffany Hayes, for when he feels like they might be trying to take advantage of a situation, any situation.

"I say things a normal person would say, 'Yeah, coach, we understand,'" Auriemma said. "Someday they will (understand). They're in heaven now. Storrs, Conn., is heaven for them."

Doty and Hayes, two-thirds of the starting backcourt for the top-ranked Huskies (32-0), are well into their second season of never having lost a game as a member of the UConn women's basketball team.

They're 71-0 as of Monday night's 59-44 victory over Notre Dame in the Big East tournament semifinals at the XL Center.

"I've definitely probably spoken to them about it," UConn senior All-American Tina Charles said of how fortunate Doty and Hayes are to have the record they have, in addition to a national championship ring they earned as freshmen.

"I hope it didn't go in one ear and out the other. They're just living the dream right now."

While Doty and Hayes, who are roommates, have led somewhat of a charmed existence at UConn so far, they've also contributed significantly to the 71-game streak.

Doty started her first 17 games as a freshman before suffering a season-ending tear to the anterior cruciate ligament last January. She's come back to average 7.2 points per game this season and has 117 assists, second on the team to Maya Moore.

Hayes, a high school All-American whom Auriemma allowed to wear all-timer Diana Taurasi's No. 3 for the first time since Taurasi's graduation, scored a career-high 28 in last year's NCAA regional game against Cal. She's averaging 10.2 points per game heading into tonight's championship game against West Virginia and received All-Big East second-team honors last week.

Monday, Doty scored six of UConn's first seven points against Notre Dame on two 3-pointers. She hit three 3-pointers in all and finished with nine points, four assists and two steals. She was injured with 49.7 seconds left, however, and was being evaluated for a concussion. Her status for today's game is uncertain.

Hayes had four points, six rebounds and three assists.

The pair have shared the point guard duties for UConn this year in the absence of All-American Renee Montgomery, who graduated a year ago.

That's their biggest resiliency, Charles said, to take over that role in the spotlight of playing nationally ranked opponents and with national media pressure.

Auriemma, though, can't help picking on them a little, especially with comparisons between this UConn team and previous ones.

"I tell them every day, 'Go ahead, you play Sue (Bird) and D (Taurasi),'" Auriemma said. "'Two-on-two. Let's see who wins. C'mon.' God bless 'em. I wouldn't want them any other way."

v.fulkerson@theday.com

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