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Huskies' last home conference loss was in '93

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Notre Dame took it right at Connecticut.

The Fighting Irish (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) snapped Connecticut's Big East home winning streak at 112 games Sunday, beating the Huskies 65-59.

"We were more aggressive and more physical. We were not going to be intimidated," Notre Dame coach Muffett McGraw said. "To come in here and play where we've never won and play like we did tonight was a real step forward."

Courtney LaVere led Notre Dame (18-3, 6-2 Big East) with 14 points and anchored a dominating inside game as the Irish won for the first time in eight tries in Connecticut. Notre Dame made good on its quest to avenge a loss to the Huskies (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) just 18 days ago in South Bend.

UConn (13-5, 6-1) hadn't lost a home conference game since a 64-62 defeat to Georgetown on Feb. 27, 1993. The Irish also ended the Huskies' 55-game streak at Gampel Pavilion. UConn's last defeat at Gampel was a 72-71 loss to Tennessee on Feb. 1, 2001.

The Irish led by 10 at the half and countered every UConn move down the stretch with backdoor cuts to LaVere or 3-pointers from Megan Duffy and Charel Allen. Each bucket brought a collective groan from the 10,167 fans.

"The Big East is such a tough conference, and to win on the road against a great team like UConn means a lot," LaVere said.

Ann Strother almost single-handedly kept the Huskies in the game with her perimeter shooting. She had a season-high 25 points on 7-of-9 3-point shooting. Her final 3 with 12.6 seconds left cut the Irish's lead to 61-59. But Notre Dame iced it by hitting four straight free throws.

"I'm not really concerned with how many points I scored," Strother said. "Our best player is our team. When everyone's thinking on the same page, all together, there's no team in the country that can beat us. If there's one person who's not
concentrating, not focused, we all look horrible."

The Huskies had several lapses, especially in the first half when they turned the ball over 16 times.

"Our guards are not good and today we were exposed," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Notre Dame put a lot of pressure on them to find guys and we couldn't do it. The first thing we would do when we got the ball was to look to pass to someone who wasn't open."

Duffy finished with 12 points and Teresa Borton matched her career high with 11 rebounds for the Irish. Charde Houston had 10 points and 12 boards for the Huskies.

Notre Dame outscored UConn 36-16 in the paint and had 19 points off 20 UConn turnovers. Led by LaVere, a reserve forward, Notre Dame's backup outscored the UConn subs 29-12.

The Irish established their inside dominance early, outscoring UConn 22-6 in the paint in the first half. LaVere, who had 10 points in the period on 4-of-5 shooting, was nearly unstoppable with her hook shot.

UConn clung to a two-point lead with 7:49 remaining when the Irish went on a 10-0 run to take a 28-20 lead. The Huskies spent most of the period without center Jessica Moore, who picked up her third foul just eight minutes in.

The Irish also scored 17 points on 16 UConn turnovers in the first half and led 34-24 at the half.

The win gave Notre Dame basketball a clean sweep of both UConn men and women's teams. Earlier in the day, the Notre Dame men beat the Huskies 78-74 in South Bend.

"I think we are both just trying to position ourselves for the NCAA Tournament," McGraw said. "It was a great win for our guys today and I'm sure they feel the same about us."

The UConn teams hadn't lost on the same day since Jan. 15, 2001, and hadn't lost to the same opponent since Boston College beat both the men and women on Jan. 26, 1985, in the pre-Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma era.