7:00 PM ET, January 16, 2006
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut's Charde Houston is finally in game shape.LSU found out the hard way.The sophomore forward had 22 points, including the game-winning free throw with 17 seconds left, and the Huskies (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) handed No. 3 LSU its first loss of the season, 51-48 on Monday night.Houston has missed four games with a foot injury and had not played more than 20 minutes since Nov. 20. Against LSU, Houston was nearly unstoppable, playing 30 minutes and finishing with 14 rebounds, three steals and a block."This was a challenge for me personally. I have to tell myself 'You cannot get tired,'" she said. "That's what I had in my mind. I just didn't want to get tired. We've been really harping in practice `Don't give up on plays' and I really focused on that tonight."The Huskies (16-2) were playing their fifth game in 10 days, a stretch that began with an 89-80 loss at top-ranked Tennessee. But they showed no signs of fatigue, putting the Lady Tigers (14-1) on their heels early and holding them to a season-low 48 points.UConn led by as many as 16 points.Reigning national player of the year Seimone Augustus of LSU was averaging 20 points coming into the game. She finished with 15 points but had few good looks most of the game. Sylvia Fowles, LSU's dominant 6-foot-6 center, had her hands full with two and three UConn defenders, especially Houston. Fowles with finished 15 rebounds and 12 points, five below her average."Anytime you're playing two unbelievably good players like LSU, do you let them get their average and you hope the rest of the guys don't go crazy?" UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "I've never subscribed to that theory, so for us it was to run as many people as possible at Seimone and try to surround Sylvia with as many people as possible and take our chances with the other guys. Even then it was difficult at times."Fowles and Augustus combined for eight points in LSU's 10-0 run that tied the game at 48. Fowles' putback with 26 seconds left tied it. Houston was fouled on UConn's next possession and made the second of two free throws.The Lady Tigers had one last chance but Augustus' jumper clanged off the rim and UConn's Mel Thomas came down with the rebound. Houston threw a fullcourt pass on the inbounds to a streaking Barbara Turner and all LSU could do was foul. Turner hit both shots as the crowd of 15,105 stood and roared. It was UConn's first win over a Top 10 team this season."UConn did a nice job on the defensive end, but most of it dealt with our offense and how lethargic we were," Augustus said. "We just stood around and basically didn't do anything."Turner finished with eight points and eight rebounds.The Huskies forced LSU to rush out of their methodical offense, something not to many teams have done this year."I thought we played fast. I credit UConn with that," LSU coach Pokey Chatman said. "We're not doing things we've done in the past. It's a battle of wills and it becomes a chess match. And we got kicked in that category tonight."Connecticut turned a defensive stalemate into an uptempo game when Houston and speedy guard Ketia Swanier got into the lineup. Swanier pushed the pace off defensive rebounds and Houston dominated inside, muscling her way through traffic to score.Fowles picked up her second foul with 8:37 left on a layup by Houston and sat out the rest of the first half. Houston, a reserve forward, converted the three-point play, part of an 11-0 UConn run.The Lady Tigers went scoreless through two stretches of nearly 5 minutes.With Fowles out, the Huskies extended their lead to 30-14 with 2:07 left before the Lady Tigers closed the half on a 7-0 run.The Huskies outrebounded LSU 23-15 in the first 20 minutes, getting 13 second-chance points.Houston converted the three-point play, part of an 11-0 UConn run. The reserve forward was a model of efficiency, with 15 points and nine rebounds in minutes in the half."When the ball's involved, Charde is resourceful," Auriemma said. "She's going to make sure that ball gets on the rim one way or another. And very rarely does that ball not get on the rim."
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||20-49 (.408)||21-58 (.362)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-10 (.300)||6-19 (.316)|
|FT Made-Attempted||5-9 (.556)||6-9 (.667)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||14 (0/0)||12 (0/0)|