UConn Loses to Baylor, and Home Winning Streak Ends at 98

UConn Loses to Baylor, and Home Winning Streak Ends at 98
UConn’s Crystal Dangerfield, left, fouled Baylor’s Te’a Cooper in the first half. Cooper had a game-high 27 points, and 6 rebounds and 5 assists.Credit...Jessica Hill/Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — Kim Mulkey and Baylor are making a habit of ending Connecticut’s streaks.

Teá Cooper scored 27 points and No. 6 Baylor used a dominant fourth quarter to beat top-ranked UConn, 74-58, on Thursday night, ending the Huskies’ 98-game home winning streak. It was the second consecutive year that the Lady Bears (12-1) ended a long UConn run. Last season, Baylor stopped the Huskies’ 126-game regular-season winning streak.

“We just happen to be the team that beat them, not anymore than that,” Mulkey, the Lady Bears’ coach, said. “Streaks are made to be broken,”

UConn (12-1) fell one victory short of tying its own N.C.A.A. record of 99 in a row at home. The Huskies’ previous loss at home came in the Big East final against Notre Dame on March 12, 2013. The defeat on Thursday was the worst for UConn since a 23-point defeat to Louisiana State in the regional final of the 2007 N.C.A.A. tournament. It was the worst home loss since Dec. 5, 2005, when the Huskies lost to North Carolina by 23 points.

Baylor, the defending national champion, led by 3 going into the fourth quarter, and neither team could get much going on offense in the first few minutes of the final period. The Huskies cut the deficit to 1 on a jumper by Christyn Williams with 6 minutes 36 seconds left.

The Lady Bears responded by scoring 15 straight points. The streak started on a layup by Lauren Cox and two baskets by Nalyssa Smith. Smith finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

“We went on a run, and they just missed some shots,” Mulkey said, adding, “I’d like to tell you we made a change and I was a genius.”

UConn (12-1) did not score a basket after Williams’s jumper until Crystal Dangerfield hit a 3-pointer in the final minute. Williams had 21 points to lead the Huskies.

This was UConn’s first real test of the season. Since 2007, the Huskies have played at least one top-five team before New Year’s. This season, their only ranked opponent before Thursday was DePaul, which was No. 16.

“You know we have a really young team young in terms of being able to play in this kind of game,” UConn Coach Geno Auriemma said. “They don’t know how to play in this kind of game.”

Baylor was ahead by 33-25 late in the second quarter when Auriemma called a timeout. The Huskies scored the next 9 points before Baylor hit the last basket before the half to take a 35-34 lead into the break.

The Lady Bears extended the lead to 55-52 after three quarters. The Huskies had a chance to make it a 1-point game, but Megan Walker missed a layup with a few seconds left, prompting Auriemma to slam the scorer’s table.

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