Quick start not enough to dethrone UCONN
No. 1 Huskies defeat Miami 81-60 in front of largest women’s crowd
The Lady ‘Canes came up short in their quest to end the streak.
The undefeated Uconn Huskies won their 64th game in a row, defeating Miami 81-60 at the Convocation Center Wednesday night. Miami (14-9, 6-6 Big East) remains seventh i t in the conference with the loss while the Huskies (25-0, 12-0) improve to 17-5 all time against Miami.
The Convocation Center drew their highest attendance for a women’s basketball game, and the 4,973 people were initially treated to a competitive basketball contest. UM started off strong, posting a 23-15 lead in the first 12 minutes of play, but couldn’t hold on as the Huskies bit back to move ahead 37-29 at the break.
Connecticut All-American Diana Taurasi had 10 points and five rebounds in the first half while Hurricane leading scorer Tamara James posted 14 points and three rebounds during that time span.
In the second half, Connecticut clearly had momentum on its side as it went ahead by 16 points within the first three minutes of play, and never looked back. Taurasi put up 19 points in the game, including nine from the foul line. Connecticut held its game-high point gap of 24 with 11 minutes remaining. The ‘Canes appeared to be creeping up on the Huskies as they moved into feasible comeback range with nine minutes left, but it proved to be a fruitless chase.
“Connecticut does all the little things well,” head coach Ferne Labati said. “As soon as you take a hit, they take off.”
James led Miami with 19 points, five of which came from the charity stripe. Shaquanda Wilkins pulled down 14 rebounds in the losing effort. UM struggled with their shots, converting just 32.5 percent of their opportunities from the field, compared to the Huskies 52.6 percent.
“I think we came out hard,” James said. “The second half was difficult because they came out harder than we did. I think we could have done better, but we played hard.”
Coming into the contest, Tamara James led the Big East in scoring with 21.6 points per game and led UM in rebounds with 8.2 per game.
“It showed a lot of character that we could settle down and get back to what we do,” Taurasi said.
Uconn head coach Geno Auriemma was pleased with the victory, in more ways than one.
“We always want to be known for the way we play, not just [that we win],” Auriemma said. “I like the way we hustle after loose balls. People remember that.”
Connecticut is the only undefeated team in Division I women’s basketball this season and has enjoyed a 489-98 record in the past 18 seasons under head coach Geno Auriemma. It leads the conference in scoring defense, scoring margin, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, rebounding margins, and assists.
The Hurricanes are on top of the Big East in scoring offense, blocks, and steals. Tonight,
Labati was not pleased with the home team’s effort in this game.
“I’m very upset because I felt going into the season that we’d make the NCAA tournament,” Labati said. “I’m frustrated because we’re not where we wanted to be.”
Next up for the ‘Canes is Providence College, and their 3-9 record in the conference. Play begins at 3pm tomorrow at the Convocation Center.
“We have to take our game to the next level so we can make the NCAA tournament,” Labati said. “It’s about winning at this point. We want to show the nation that we’re an up and coming program.”
Melissa Teich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org