Women of Troy Fall To No. 3 Connecticut, 68-44

Dec 8, 2002

By DONNA TOMMELLEO
AP Sports Writer

HARTFORD, Conn. - Despite forcing UConn to committ 30 turnovers, the USC women's basketball team could not convert as they fell 68-44 to fifth-ranked Connecticut in front of a sold out Hartford Civic Center on Sunday, Dec. 8.

With the loss, USC drops to 4-3 overall this season, while the Huskies improve to 7-0 and extend their win streak to 46 games - the longest active streak in the nation. The winning streak ties the 1996-98 Tennessee Lady Vols for the second longest in the NCAA. Louisiana Tech holds the NCAA record with 54 straight victories from 1980-82.

UConn's guard Diana Taurasi scored 24 points, had a career-high 14 rebounds and blocked six shots to lead the Huskies to the lopsided victory.

USC (4-3) turned in the worst shooting performance in program history, going 12-of-66 (18.2 percent). The previous low was 24 percent against Washington in 1990. The 12 field goals matched an all-time low set in 2000 against Oregon State.

Turnovers plagued the young UConn squad from the start. The Huskies committed 30 turnovers, most on errant passes. Husky head coach Geno Auriemma said the physical nature of the game made it tough to get into a flow, but added he wasn't making excuses.

The Huskies compensated by banging inside and getting solid minutes from freshman forward Willnett Crockett, who played at the same Los Angeles high school as three USC players (Narbonne High). UConn outrebounded the Trojans 52-44 and had a 38-12 scoring edge in the paint.

UConn also managed to shut down Rachel Woodward, USC's leading scorer. Averaging 16.2 points coming into the game, Woodward was 0-for-9 from the field and didn't score.

Ebony Hoffman led USC with 22 points and 14 rebounds and Aisha Hollans, making her first start of the season, added 11 points. Hoffman scored the first 10 points of the second half for the Trojans, but by then UConn had the game in hand.

'None of us were really in the game, me personally in the first half,' Hoffman said. 'We all could have played a lot harder.'

UConn led 37-19 at halftime despite committing 17 turnovers. The Huskies made up for it with 52 percent shooting and strong post play. Taurasi had 16 points in the half and six of UConn's 26 first-half rebounds.

UConn closed out the half on a 14-4 run, triggered by Conlon's 3-pointer. The Trojans went nearly 12 minutes without a field goal, ending the drought on a floater by guard Jessica Cheeks, who was playing on a sprained ankle, with 56 seconds to play.

'If we want to play at this level, we need to step up our toughness,' Gobrecht said. 'Just imagine what would have happened if we made some shots.'

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