TOP 25/SEC WOMEN
NO. 2 CONNECTICUT 89, NO. 1 NOTRE DAME 71
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Geno Auriemma believes there's a lot to like about Connecticut's latest star in the making, freshman Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian).
Williams scored 16 of her season-high 28 points in the first quarter to help the No. 2 Huskies dominate No. 1 Notre Dame 89-71 on Sunday.
"Christyn adds a big dimension to our team," Auriemma said of his 5-foot-11 guard from Little Rock. "She's fearless. I was upset we didn't give it to her more in the second quarter (when Williams had zero points). I wish she was 6-3. She is one of the rare individuals that comes along that know who they are. She knows who she is."
Williams hit 7 of 8 shots in the first quarter on way to making 11 of 16 in the game to lead five Huskies in double figures. Her 16 first-quarter points were one off her previous game high of 17 points against Purdue on Nov. 24.
"I didn't even know I did that," Williams said. "I was just being aggressive, listening to my coaches and playing off my teammates. We wanted this one bad."
It was Williams' basket with 6:36 left in the first quarter that gave UConn an 8-6 lead that it would not relinquish against Muffet McGraw's 7-1 Irish, who saw their 28-game winning streak at home ended by the Huskies. UConn has all three victories against Notre Dame in its last 100 home games at the Purcell Pavilion.
Napheesa Collier had 16 points along with 15 rebounds and 3 blocks, All-American Katie Lou Samuelson had 15 points after being held scoreless in the first half, Crystal Dangerfield scored 13 points and Megan Walker added 12 for the 7-0 Huskies.
"I thought Christyn Williams was phenomenal," McGraw said of the player the Irish also tried to recruit. "She was the real difference in the game."
Jackie Young, who had 32 points in the teams' last meeting in the NCAA semifinals when the Irish won 91-89 in overtime on Arike Ogunbowale's first of two buzzer-beaters in the Women's Final Four, led five Irish players in double figures with 18 points.
Ogunbowale finished with 17 points, but only 5 after halftime, and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Irish. Jessica Shepard had 13 points, Marina Mabrey 11 and Brianna Turner had 10 points and 4 blocks for Notre Dame.
"I thought a defensive transition was poor, I thought our half-court defense was poor, I thought our offensive execution was poor and then we lost our poise and that was unexpected," McGraw said. "This time, the team we played was good enough to take advantage of it. We're a better team than we showed."
UConn led 27-22 after the first quarter and 44-41 at halftime despite getting no points from the 6-foot-3 Samuelson, who was 0-for-7 from the field. But she helped in other areas with 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal.
The Huskies increased their lead to 65-59 heading into the final quarter and then steadily pulled away. Samuelson hit a three-point play for a 74-64 lead with 6:08 to play. She then hit a pair of technical free throws for a 79-66 lead after Ogunbowale and Auriemma exchanged words and the Irish player was hit with a technical with 4:25 to play.
McGraw eventually took out Ogunbowale with 1:43 remaining when she received an unsportsmanlike foul and Dangerfield hit two free throws for an 89-70 lead.
NO. 6 MISSISSIPPI STATE 67, NO. 10 TEXAS 49
AUSTIN, Texas -- Mississippi State's toughest test of the early season had a familiar result: another rout.
Jazzmun Holmes scored 17 points, Chloe Bibby had 14 and Teaira McCowan rebounded her way to a school record, helping the No. 6 Bulldogs roll over No. 10 Texas in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
The Bulldogs entered the marquee matchup of powerhouse programs braced for a slugfest after a series of early season blowouts. Mississippi State (8-0) has made it to the NCAA Tournament final the last two seasons and Texas (7-1) has advanced to the Sweet 16 or further each of the last four years.
The Bulldogs barely gave Texas a chance to take the floor before they were running the Longhorns off their home court.
Sports on 12/03/2018
Print Headline: Little Rock freshman helps UConn topple Notre Dame