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College basketball

Sluggish UConn rallies, clinches

©Associated Press

March 2, 2003

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Providence slowed down No. 1 Connecticut. The Friars just didn't have enough to stop the Huskies from winning.

Ann Strother scored 13 and Diana Taurasi added 12 as Connecticut rallied to beat Providence 70-52 on Saturday, clinching its 10th straight regular-season Big East title.

The Huskies (28-0, 15-0) have won an NCAA record 67 straight and are 21 shy of tying the men's NCAA record of 88 straight set by UCLA from 1971-74.

Connecticut trailed for the first 12 minutes as Providence (9-17, 3-12) slowed the game with a tight zone. The Friars outrebounded the Huskies 20-14 in the first half.

"I feel bad for Providence," Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. "We didn't deserve to win. They outplayed us."

It was somewhat surprising to see the Huskies trailing, especially against one of the worst teams in the conference. Auriemma benched Taurasi for a long stretch in the first half because she was struggling.

Taurasi played just 11 minutes and had two points.

"I don't think we came into the game with the kind of killer instinct we wanted," Taurasi said. "In the first half, I probably didn't handle myself as well as I could. I really wanted to turn it around."

That didn't happen until midway through the second half.

Brooke Freedburg, who led the Friars with 17 points, hit a jumper with 10:10 remaining to pull Providence to 40-39. Then Taurasi hit two free throws and followed with two quick 3-pointers, sparking a 25-2 run.

"We won because we had nine high school All-Americans and Providence had none," Auriemma said.

NO. 5 KANSAS ST. 67, COLORADO 59: Megan Mahoney had 23 points and 11 rebounds and Nicole Ohdle added 17 for the visiting Wildcats (27-2, 14-1 Big 12). The Buffaloes are 20-6, 10-5.

NO. 6 LA. TECH 98, BOISE ST. 60: Cheryl Ford had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the host Techsters (25-2, 17-0 WAC). Ford was 8-of-11 from the field and 4-of-6 from the line. Boise State is 9-17, 6-10.

NO. 9 STANFORD 63, ARIZONA ST. 53: Nicole Powell had 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two blocks for the visiting Cardinal (23-4, 15-3 Pac-10). The Sun Devils are 15-12, 7-11.

NO. 14 GEORGIA 76, FLORIDA 67: Christi Thomas had 19 points and 10 rebounds as the host Bulldogs (19-8, 10-4) clinched a first-round bye in the SEC tournament. Vanessa Hayden led the Gators (9-17, 1-13) with 20 points and five blocks.

NO. 20 RUTGERS 50, NO. 18 VILLANOVA 49: Shalicia Hurns made a layup at the buzzer for the visiting Scarlet Knights (20-5, 13-2 Big East). Cappie Pondexter took the inbounds pass the length of the court and had her shot blocked by Courtney Mix. Hurns rebounded and scored. The Wildcats are 21-5, 11-4.

NO. 22 WIS.-GREEN BAY 96, WRIGHT STATE 68: Kristy Loiselle scored 24 to lead six players in double figures as the host Phoenix (24-3, 15-1) avenged its only Horizon League defeat. The Raiders are 11-16, 8-8.

NO. 23 BC 84, MIAMI 77: Reserve guard Amber Jacobs scored a season-high 28 and the Eagles (19-7, 11-4 Big East) scored the final 13. Becky Gottstein added 24 points and nine rebounds. Brianne Stepherson had career-high 13 assists and six points for the Eagles.

Meghan Saake paced the Hurricanes (15-11, 7-8) with 24 points and Tamara James added 23.

The Eagles led for most of the game and held a 39-33 halftime edge. Miami rallied and led 77-71 after James hit a jumper with 3:00 remaining, but the Hurricanes never scored and lost for the sixth time in their past eight.

Gottstein converted a three-point play to give the Eagles a 78-77 lead with 1:28 remaining. Jacobs followed with a 3-pointer with 31 seconds left to help seal it.

Boston College's bench outscored Miami's reserves 44-8.

NO. 24 ARIZONA 68, CAL 51: Shawntinice Polk scored 22 and the host Wildcats (20-7, 13-5 Pac-10) won their 13th straight. The Bears are 9-18, 5-13.

NO. 25 WASH. 73, WASH.ST. 49: Giuliana Mendiola scored 20 and had five steals for the host Huskies (21-6, 13-5 Pac-10). The Cougars are 2-25, 1-17.

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