February 28, 2004

Villanova Upsets No. 1 UConn Again

VILLANOVA, Pa. - Take that Connecticut — again! Liad Suez hit a turnaround jumper with 56 seconds left and scored 23 points, giving Villanova its second stunning win in two years over the top-ranked Huskies, winning 59-56 Saturday night.

The Wildcats (21-5, 11-4 Big East) snapped UConn's 70-game winning streak in the championship of last year's conference tournament, and they weren't intimidated by the Huskies this time, either.

Just like last year, the Wildcats mobbed each other at midcourt before quickly rushing off to the locker room to celebrate a wild Senior Night victory.

Playing in front of the first sellout crowd for a women's game at The Pavillion, the Wildcats rallied from an eight-point deficit early in the second half behind Suez and Jackie Adamshick.

UConn (23-3, 13-2) led by three points with just over 3 minutes to play.

Adamshick, who scored 13 points, hit a 3-pointer with 3:05 left for a 54-52 lead. Diana Taurasi tied it with 2:47 left, but the Huskies were never ahead again.

Suez hit the jumper, then combined with Adamshick to sink three free throws in the final minute to seal the win.

Taurasi's desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer clanged off the back of the rim, snapping the Huskies' 12-game winning streak and denying them a chance to win the conference title outright.

Barbara Turner scored 25 points for the Huskies. She hit a 3-pointer early in the second half for a 38-30 lead, UConn's largest of the game.

Then the Wildcats started to rally. Suez hit a couple of baskets and Adamshick converted a three-point play for a 39-37 lead, Villanova's first since the opening minutes.

Both Suez and Turner hit 3s as the lead swapped again, and neither team would be in front by more than four points in the closing minutes. The Wildcats, though, were hot down the stretch and finished 24 for 48 from the floor and outrebounded the Huskies 34-25.

Taurasi, who came in averaging 16.2 points, struggled from the floor, going only 3-for-13 and she missed three of her four free-throw attempts. Taurasi threw up an airball on a long, rushed jumper with under 10 seconds to go that Turner put back for a basket, making it 57-56.

The Huskies went for the quick foul, but Suez hit both free throws.

Only a few fans rushed the court — the crowd of 6,000 was decidedly pro-UConn. The UConn men's team beat Villanova 75-74 in overtime earlier Saturday at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center.

The Wildcats have won seven straight and finished 12-0 at home.

No comments: