Feb. 19, 2006
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Ann Strother scored 11 of her 19 points during a decisive run midway through the second half to lead No. 8 Connecticut to a 79-64 victory over Notre Dame on Sunday night.
UConn led 52-48 when Strother made a pair of free throws and a pair of 3-pointers to give the Huskies a 60-51 lead. Strother added another 3 during the run to give the Huskies a 15-point lead. UConn stretched the lead to 18 points twice before finally winning by 15.
The Huskies (24-3, 12-1 Big East) clinched the No. 2 seed in the Big East tournament.
Strother was 5-for-8 from 3-point range. Renee Montgomery had 15 points, Charde Houston 14 and Barbara Turner scored 11 of her 13 in the second half. She also grabbed nine rebounds. The Huskies, who outrebounded the Irish 36-31, shot 45 percent while the Irish shot 44 percent. Charel Allen, Lindsay Schrader and Breona Gray each had 12 for the Irish, and Megan Duffy added 11.
The Irish, who trailed by nine late in the first half, opened the second half with a 5-0 spurt to take a 38-37 lead on a basket inside by Courtney LaVere. The teams traded leads, with Notre Dame moving ahead 42-41 on a basket inside by Crystal Erwin.
But Montgomery hit a 3 to spark a 7-0 run to make it 48-42. The Irish had one last 6-2 spurt before the Huskies went on their decisive run.
The Irish were able to keep the score close until then. They started the game by making eight of 12 shots and took a 21-18 lead when Melissa D'Amico made a pair of free throws. The Huskies defense finally slowed the Irish, holding them to 1-of-7 shooting, using a 17-5 spurt to open a 35-26 lead when Houston scored inside.
The Huskies then made just one basket the rest of the half, turning the ball over twice, missing two shots and a pair of free throws as Notre Dame closed to 37-33 at halftime.
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame is 3-5 against ranked opponents this season, but in four of those losses, the Irish were within striking distance in the second half, owning the lead once (Connecticut), tying once (at DePaul), and getting within six points or less twice (four at Rutgers; six vs. Tennessee) ... Connecticut takes an 18-4 lead in the series with Notre Dame (6-2 in South Bend), with Sunday's 79 points being the most for the Huskies vs. the Irish since Jan. 21, 2002 (an 80-53 UC win in Hartford) ... UConn tied a Notre Dame opponent season high with 79 points, equalling DePaul's total from Feb. 12 ... the Irish had four double-figure scorers for the seventh time in 24 games this season, falling to 5-2 in those contests (12-6 with three or more double-digit scorers) ... Notre Dame's 16 turnovers snapped a string of five consecutive games in which the Irish had 15 or fewer giveaways (16 combined in previous two games vs. Villanova and DePaul) ... Notre Dame shot better than 43 percent for the fourth time in five games ... senior All-America guard Megan Duffy scored in double figures for the ninth consecutive game, extending the longest such run of her career (previous: six from Nov. 17-Dec. 2, 2004) ... Duffy also notched her 11th game this season with 5+ assists (47th of her career) ... Sunday marked just the second time all season (and fourth time in the past 57 games over two seasons) that Duffy has missed more than one free throw in a game (also this year on Jan. 28 vs. South Florida when she went 10-of-13 from the line) ... Duffy posted her 12th complete game of the season (includes two OT contests) ... junior guard Breona Gray chalked up her sixth double-digit scoring game of the season and most points since a similar 12-point outing vs. Arkansas State on Dec. 17 in her hometown of Las Vegas ... sophomore guard Charel Allen posted her career-long fourth consecutive double-figure scoring game and fifth in the past six outings (10.8 ppg. in that span) ... senior forward Courtney LaVere had her four-game double-digit scoring streak end with seven points vs. UConn ...the crowd of 8,193 was Notre Dame's second-largest of the season (11,418 vs. Tennessee on Dec. 31), as well as the 13th-largest crowd in school history and 14th gathering of 8,000 or more fans all-time at the Joyce Center; the Irish also now have had crowds of 5,000-plus 77 of their last 79 home games.