BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut's season was down to its
last play and it broke down.
Fortunately for the Huskies, Barbara Turner can improvise.
The Connecticut senior hit a fadeaway 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds
left and two defenders on her to give the second-seeded Huskies a
77-75 win Sunday night over Georgia in the Bridgeport Regional
"It was a zone and it kind of broke down to a man-to-man,"
Turner said. "I noticed the defense was kind of shifted towards
the other end of the court and I called for the ball and took the
UConn will play top-seeded Duke in the regional final Tuesday
Turner had a career-high 31 points and nine rebounds to help the
Huskies (32-4) rally from 15 points down. With the victory, the
five-time national champs pushed their NCAA winning streak in the
state of Connecticut to 29 games.
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma watched the final play unfold in
a stunned silence.
"I told the guys in the locker room, there are times that if
you are lucky, fate taps you on the shoulder and you are ready. And
today, we were ready," he said.
Tasha Humphrey led Georgia (23-9) with 27 points, but picked up
her fourth foul with 8:45 to play. In the closing minutes, Turner
drove inside and scored six points on Humphrey. Turner's layup with
1:42 left gave UConn a 71-68 lead.
Cori Chambers tied it for the Lady Bulldogs with a 3-pointer on
Georgia's next possession. Sherill Baker then gave the Lady
Bulldogs their first lead of the half, making the second of two
free throws to make it 72-71.
Ann Strother countered with a 3-pointer for UConn and the lead
swung back the Huskies' way. But it didn't last long. With
defenders looking inside for Humphrey, Chambers hit again from
3-point range with 20.3 seconds left to silence the partisan UConn
crowd of 9,091.
After a UConn timeout, Turner got the ball on the right wing
and, unable to drive inside with two defenders blocking her way,
she fired up the winner.
"Never in my basketball career have I had the opportunity that
I just had with the ball in my hands, with the game on the line and
to be able to make the shot," Turner said. "There is no better
feeling in the world."
Georgia had one more shot. Humphrey fired the ball the length of
the court and it bounced off the front of the rim as time expired.
At the final horn, Turner was mobbed by her teammates. Humphrey
sank to her knees as her team and coaches gathered around her.
"Those last 30 seconds were up and down," Humphrey said. "You
hate to see a game won or lost on a shot like that."
It was Humphrey that the Lady Bulldogs had turned to time and
again throughout the season to shore up a depleted front court.
Before the season even started, the Lady Bulldogs lost two post
players to knee injuries and two more left the program for personal
reason. That left the stout 6-foot-3 Humphrey and she didn't
disappoint. She nearly brought them back all by herself Sunday
With her team trailing by four at the half, Humphrey scored 11
points in the first nine minutes of the second half.
Humphrey and the Lady Bulldogs jumped on the Huskies early and
built a 23-8 lead with 8:42 left, their largest edge of the night.
The Huskies looked disjointed, sluggish and perhaps headed for the
90-minute ride back to campus at the end of the night.
But UConn freshman Renee Montgomery quickly brought the momentum
back to the Huskies with two straight 3-pointers. It kicked off a
22-3 run over a six-minute span. The Lady Bulldogs managed just one
field goal over that stretch that also included a technical called
on Georgia coach Andy Landers when he came halfway out on the floor
to argue a call. Strother made both free throws from the technical.
Turner closed out the scoring for UConn in the half with a pair of
free throws and the Huskies led 34-30 at the break.
"We didn't lose," Landers said. "You lose when you don't go
out and apply the ability and talent that you have to the challenge
that faces you. When you apply yourself like we did, you don't
lose. You get beat."
Strother finished with 13 points and Montgomery added 13 for
Alexis Kendrick had 14 points for Georgia.
"I don't know if we have played a team this year that was
harder to play then Georgia was in every area of the game,"
Auriemma said. "For us to get down 15 and come back and win the
game, I feel really good about these two [Turner and Strother]
because of the time and effort that they put into it."