For the second time in a week, an unranked BIG EAST team won on the road at a top-five opponent. Saturday night it was St. John’s (18-8, 10-3 BIG EAST) who upset No. 2/2 Connecticut (24-3, 11-2 BIG EAST) 57-56 at Gampel Pavilion. It was the first home loss for UConn since March. 6, 2007, a span of 99-games. Last week, West Virginia won at then-No. 2/2 Notre Dame 65-63.
The Red Storm, who have won seven of their last eight games—the lone loss coming to then-No. 2 Notre Dame — had lost the previous 27 meetings vs. UConn dating back to a home victory over the Huskies on Jan. 6, 1993.
“It’s truly unbelievable,” Barnes Arico said. “There aren’t many teams that can say they beat UConn in this place and now we’re one of them.”
St. John’s became only the fifth team to win at Storrs since 1993, joining Tennessee, Georgia, Notre Dame and Rutgers.
“It’s amazing for our team,” said senior Da’Shena Stevens, who led the Red Storm with 15 points and eight rebounds. “We’ve been playing great. We made a statement tonight. To play against a really good team on their home court with what they were going for tonight and to beat them is amazing.”
Trailing by two with 16 seconds left, junior Nadirah McKenith drove the lane and kicked it out to junior Shenneika Smith, who hit a 3-pointer to give the Red Storm the lead.
“When (coach) wrote the play up, I hadn’t hit one all day and this was the going to be the one I hit,” said Smith, who had only made three of her 22 3-point attempts this season before that shot.
UConn had one final chance, but sophomore Bria Hartley’s 3-point attempt from the corner was short, setting off a wild celebration at midcourt by the Red Storm.
“Days like today are a reminder that you’re only supposed to win when you play really well and beat the other team. We didn’t deserve to win. I don’t care if we won 900 in a row at home,” Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. “Leading up to that last shot, if that shot goes in — hey that’s 100 in a row. Realistically, though, St. John’s outplayed us today. They did what they wanted to do better than what we wanted to do. It was a fitting end for them.”
The Huskies had usually taken care of unranked teams, winning their last 261 straight at home and 173 overall against non-Top 25 opponents. Louisville was the last unranked team to knock off the Huskies at home in the NCAA tournament in 1993.
There were six ties and 17 lead changes in the contest.
Elsewhere, No. 24/20 DePaul (20-7, 8-5 BIG EAST) won at West Virginia (19-7, 9-4 BIG EAST) 77-63. The Blue Demons shot 68-percent from the field in the second half and had four players in double figures. Freshman Brittany Hrynko scored a game-high 21 points to lead DePaul, while junior Anna Martin added 19 points. Martins ranks second in the BIG EAST averaging 18.5 points per game.
Redshirt-sophomore Christal Caldwell led the Mountaineers with 16 points.
No. 21/18 Rutgers (18-8, 7-6 BIG EAST) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 61-52 victory over Villanova (15-12, 5-9 BIG EAST) at the Pavilion. Senior April Sykes scored a game-high 20 points to lead RU. Junior Laura Sweeney led VU with 19 points.
No. 15/14 Georgetown (21-6, 10-4 BIG EAST) beat Providence (13-14, 5-9 BIG EAST) 66-39 at home. Senior Tia Magee led the way with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Georgetown held a 25-19 halfitme lead, then shot 59.1-percent in the second half to pull away.
Junior Symone Roberts led the PC offense with nine points.
USF (15-13, 7-7 BIG EAST) got back to .500 in league play with a 62-50 win over Pittsburgh (8-18, 0-13 BIG EAST) at home. The Bulls got 12 points and 10 rebounds from senior Andrell Smith, while senior Jasmine Wynne scored 14 points.
Syracuse (16-11, 5-8 BIG EAST) beat Marquette (13-13, 4-9 BIG EAST) 79-63, while Cincinnati (14-12, 5-8 BIG EAST) topped Seton Hall (7-20, 0-13) 54-48.
BIG EAST play resumes on Monday as No. 4/4 Notre Dame (25-2, 12-1 BIG EAST) heads to No. 19/16 Louisville (19-7, 8-5 BIG EAST) for a 2 p.m. ET matchup on ESPN. ND leads the BIG EAST regular-season series 4-2, and has won the last two meetings.
Material from interviews, school websites, the Associated Press wire service as well as league and team sources was used in this report.