HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The most recent chapter within the UConn-Tennessee rivalry was completely different for Geno Auriemma. Pat Summitt was now not on the sideline for the Woman Vols.
“It wasn’t the identical. I miss having her there,” an emotional Auriemma mentioned after UConn’s 60-45 victory Thursday night time. “I miss wanting ahead to having her there.”
Crystal Dangerfield scored 14 factors and No. Three UConn used a dominant third quarter to beat 23rd-ranked Tennessee within the first matchup in 13 years between the groups whose rivalry dominated the game for over a decade.
Trailing by three on the half, the Huskies (17-1) scored 17 of the primary 19 factors within the third quarter, taking a 45-33 lead on Dangerfield’s Three-pointer with 1:45 left within the interval. UConn led by 11 after three and Tennessee may get no nearer within the fourth quarter.
“I felt like they got here out with a unique depth defensively within the second half,” Tennessee coach Kellie Harper mentioned. “The sport plan might need modified a bit bit. … We misplaced our composure within the third quarter.”
Rennia Davis scored 16 factors to guide the Woman Vols (15-Four). That they had solely 14 factors within the second half — the bottom complete in program historical past.
“It was nice to play on this surroundings with the historical past between each applications,” Davis mentioned.
Thursday night time offered a bit little bit of nostalgia for many who remembered how these two groups carried girls’s basketball for over a decade since their first historic assembly in 1995 that was a 1 vs 2 showdown. They performed 22 instances over a 12-year span, with each being a circle-the-calendar recreation whether or not it was in Tennessee, Connecticut or the NCAA Event.
“It felt good seeing them on the market enjoying. Clearly, look down the sidelines and its utterly completely different on the sidelines and the ground. Solely factor related was their uniforms,” Auriemma mentioned. “I received texts from numerous those that it was nice for girls’s basketball. I assume. Issues change, all the pieces has a cycle. May it nonetheless be one thing particular? Who is aware of?”
The collection ended after the 2007 season when Summitt known as it off. Geno Auriemma mentioned on the time that Summitt had accused the Huskies of a recruiting violation. Summitt by no means went public into specifics about why she ended the collection. She died in 2016 at age 64 of Alzheimer’s illness.
Former Tennessee coach Holly Warlick, a longtime assistant of Summitt’s who helped arrange Thursday’s recreation, informed The AP that the explanation she agreed to restart the collection was as a result of it’s going to profit the Pat Summitt Basis. The 2 groups will play in Knoxville subsequent season. Proceeds from each video games will go to it, together with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame.
UConn donated $10,000 to Summitt’s basis with Auriemma and Harper participating in a ceremony on the half. The Huskies are also auctioning off the black uniforms they wore for the sport with the proceeds going to the muse.
“That’s form of the one cause that this recreation happened,” mentioned Auriemma about elevating cash for the muse.
The sport was a part of the We Again Pat week in honor of Summitt. Each groups wore shirts honoring her. Tennessee received off to a quick begin, scoring 10 of the primary factors. The Woman Vols led 16-14 after one quarter. They prolonged the result in eight earlier than holding a 31-28 benefit on the half. It was a sloppy opening 20 minutes with the 2 groups combining for 24 turnovers.
MISCUES: Tennessee dedicated 27 turnovers on the sport, one in need of their season worst, which was 28 in opposition to Notre Dame — a recreation the Woman Vols gained.
“It’s been a priority for this staff, it’s been a difficulty, We gained’t win huge video games and beat good groups with 27 turnovers,” Harper mentioned. “Not going to occur. as you set your self in a gap. We held them to 60 factors, that’s fairly good defensively.”
TIP-INS: Tennessee’s earlier low for a second-half was 17 achieved thrice, the final got here in opposition to Georgia in 2002. … UConn shot simply 31.5% from the sphere (23-for-73).
SPARK OFF THE BENCH: Aubrey Griffin had 13 factors, seven rebounds and 5 steals, offering an enormous elevate for UConn. She hit 5 of her eight photographs — the one Huskies participant to shoot above 40% within the recreation.
“Each rebound she had a hand on it, each defensive possession she had a hand on it. She’s received lots to supply,” Auriemma mentioned. “She was wonderful in the present day. She was the distinction within the recreation.”
HISTORY: The Huskies gained 13 of the primary 22 conferences, together with going Four-Zero within the nationwide championship recreation. Tennessee gained the earlier three conferences within the collection earlier than Thursday. Former stars of the collection Sue Chook, Tamika Catchings and Rebecca Lobo have been in attendance working the sport on TV in addition to Harper, who performed for Tennessee.
Tennessee: Hosts LSU on Sunday.
UConn: At East Carolina on Saturday.