BIG EAST women’s basketball teams went 7-3 on Thursday and moved the league’s nonconference record to 148-52 for a .740 win percentage.
A historic 90-game win streak came to an end in California as No. 1/1 UConn (12-1) lost at No. 9/8 Stanford (9-2) by the score of 71-59. It was the first time the Huskies had lost since an 82-73 setback to Stanford in the 2008 Final Four on April 6, 2008.
“They forced us into some mistakes we haven’t made all year,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “Finally a team took advantage of the mistakes we made. At some point reality had to set in, and today reality set in,” he continued. “I’m not destroyed about it. Winning that many games in a row, it’s unheard of.”
UConn senior Maya Moore was harassed defensively throughout the evening and finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, shooting 5-of-15 from the floor and 4-of-11 from 3-point range. Senior Tiffany Hayes was 1-of-9 from the floor. UConn trailed 34-30 at halftime and never led in the contest.
“I thought we let it get away from us,” Auriemma said. “I think the atmosphere and what was going on and when Maya couldn’t get going early. I think it affected the rest of our guys. We just didn’t play like ourselves. Give credit to Stanford. I think they played an unbelievably good game.”
UConn, which won by an average of 33 points during its streak, won all but two games by double figures. The loss snaps Connecticut's 31-game winning streak against teams ranked in the AP Top-25. Sixteen of those 31 wins against ranked opponents came against teams ranked in the Top-10.
West Virginia head coach Mike Carey realizes the defensive-minded Mountaineers aren’t best known for their offense.
After watching a first half in which No. 6/7 West Virginia missed 18-of-22 attempts against St. Bonaventure, Carey also knew his Mountaineers couldn’t be that bad for an entire game. They weren’t.
Senior Liz Repella scored 15 of her season-best 20 points in the second half as the Mountaineers (13-0) remained unbeaten after rallying to a 62-53 win over the Bonnies (9-5). WVU trailed 20-15 at halftime.
In extending their best start to a season in program history, the Mountaineers overcame missing 15 of their first 16 attempts and trailed at halftime for the first time this season.
The Mountaineers responded from their first-half futility by hitting 18-of-27 attempts (66.7 percent) over the final 20 minutes and outscoring the Bonnies 47-33.
The Mountaineers’ defense continued to be their strength. They entered the game ranked third in the nation in allowing 46.7 points this season and have yet to allow an opponent to score more than 58 points against them.
West Virginia is one of four undefeated teams left in Division I along with Arkansas (12-0), Duke (13-0) and Florida Gulf Coast (9-0).
Sophomore Sugar Rodgers matched her season high with 28 points and junior Rubylee Wright scored a career-best 16 as No. 19/18
Georgetown defeated Clemson 75-54 for their fifth straight win.
The Hoyas (12-3) pulled away by scoring the last six points of the first half for a 38-28 lead, then got 10 of the first 13 points after the break. Junior Tia McGee scored seven of her 13 points during the big run.
Rodgers made her first five shots of the second half in the win. It also was Georgetown’s fourth win over an ACC team this year. Earlier this season, the Hoyas knocked off Maryland, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.
Freshman Kayla McBride scored 20 points in a reserve role as No. 16/14 Notre Dame defeated Loyola Marymount 91-47 at the Seattle U. State Farm Holiday Tournament.
Notre Dame (11-3) and Loyola Marymount each won their openers Wednesday. The tournament didn’t officially bill this as the championship game.
McBride hit 9-for-14 and Notre Dame made nearly 58 percent of its tries overall. Senior Devereaux Peters scored 14 of her 16 points in the first half as the Irish pulled away.
Senior Becca Bruszewski made all six of her shots and finished with 12 points. Sophomore Skylar Diggins added 10 as Notre Dame won its sixth in a row.
Sophomore Kayla Alexander scored 23 points, while Elashier Hall had career highs of 17 points, 12 rebounds and five assists as No. 24/RV Syracuse beat Bryant 90-31 at home.
It was the third straight win for the Orange (11-1) since a loss to No. 2 Baylor and their 38th consecutive nonconference home victory.
Sophomore Carmen Tyson-Thomas had 11 points and 12 rebounds and freshman La’Shay Taft had 10 points for the Orange. They outrebounded the Bulldogs 67-28 and held them to 1-of-28 shooting from beyond the arc.
Cincinnati (7-5) beat Hofstra 65-63 in the final day of the Maggie Dixon Surf N Slam Classic in San Diego. Junior college transfer Bjonee Reaves scored a career-high 22 points, while senior Shareese Ulis added 19 points.
Cincinnati was 19-of-22 from the free throw line and caused 20 Hofstra turnovers.
Marquette (12-2) knocked off Louisiana Tech 83-75 to win the FIU Sun & Fun Classic in Miami. Five players scored in double figures, including senior Tatiyiana McMorris who had a team-high 19 points. Senior Angel Robinson added nine points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
McMorris was named the 2010 Sun and Fun Classic Tournament Most Valuable Player and senior Paige Fiedorowicz was also named to the all-tournament team.
Marquette is riding a five-game win streak for the second time this year.
Villanova (7-6) won the Fordham Holiday Classic, following a 57-44 victory over Yale in Bronx, N.Y. The Wildcats held a 32-14 edge on points in the paint and were led by sophomore Laura Sweeney’s 15 points.
Villanova overcame a 27-21 halftime deficit and shot 62.5 percent over the final 20 minutes.
Rutgers’ trouble reaching Knoxville and No. 5/6 Tennessee’s refusal to reschedule the game left coach C. Vivian Stringer fuming after the Lady Vols routed her Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers’ players were scattered around the country during their 11-day holiday break and bad weather in the Northeast delayed many of them from returning to campus. After Tennessee beat the Scarlet Knights (7-6) by the score of 87-51, an angry Stringer said she sought to reschedule the game when it became clear Rutgers would have to charter a plane to Knoxville late Wednesday without holding a single practice.
“They never saw a tape (of Tennessee) or anything,” Stringer said of her team. “I tell you we could have had far better representation of ourselves. It could have been worth the money, worth the time to come here if we’d had a little bit more (time).”
Tennessee women’s athletics director Joan Cronan said she spoke with Rutgers athletics director Tim Pernetti about rescheduling the game, but said it wasn’t feasible with the upcoming schedules of the school’s men’s and women’s teams.
“I called Tennessee, and you see we’re playing, don’t you?” Stringer said. “They couldn’t do it. I would have done it anyway. I would have done it if we played every day back to back. I back down from no one.”
The Scarlet Knights were playing without junior Khadijah Rushdan, who averages 14.3 points per game. Rushdan bruised her knee in Rutgers’ 79-50 loss to then-No. 8/7 Texas A&M in the Maggie Dixon Classic on Dec. 19.
Junior April Sykes led the RU offense with 15 points.
USF (9-6) lost at Nebraska 78-59. The Cornhuskers raced out to a 39-20 lead at halftime and never looked back. Junior college transfer Andrea Smith scored 12 points to lead the Bulls’ offense. USF shot just 33.3 percent from the field.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Material from interviews, the Associated Press wire service as well as league and team sources was used in this report.