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Unlike its previous two wins over Louisville, it took about 15 minutes for UConn to begin pulling away from the Cardinals.
With the game tied at 17, Connecticut scored nine of the next 11 points, including seven by Charles, to take a 26-19 lead on her three-point play.
After Bingham scored to draw Louisville to 30-24, the Huskies turned up their defense. Louisville missed 18 straight shots spanning the half and Connecticut built a 19-point advantage.
"It's the big stage, our first time playing in a national championship game," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "The first five minutes was what I was most concerned about. We went back and forth and I felt really good about things. Then we started to rush some shots."
Louisville came into its first title game with little pressure. The Cardinals were big underdogs, bidding to knock off three No. 1 seeds on their way to a championship.
Busloads of Louisville fans made the 250-mile trip from Kentucky to pull for the Cardinals, and even though the game wasn't sold out for the first time in 17 years, the matchup of Big East schools still had a raucous feel to it.
But it was the Connecticut players celebrating at the end.
The victory put the Huskies in the same class as UConn's other unbeaten teams, in 1995 and 2002. Besides Connecticut, only Tennessee and Texas have run through a season without a loss.
The title was Connecticut's first since 2004. UConn was suffering through its longest "drought" since first winning in 1995.
Only the Lady Vols, with eight titles, have more than the Huskies.
With most of Connecticut's team returning, it might be only a few more years before that changes.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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