7:00 PM ET, February 4, 2006
UConn survives cold shooting night, beats WVU
STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut had more turnovers than assists, shot a season-low 32 percent and played wildly out of control in stretches.About the only positive coach Geno Auriemma could point to Saturday night was the final score: UConn 58, West Virgina 50."We were lousy," Auriemma said. "I told the players the one good thing that game out of this was we won the game. Other than that I can't think of really anything that came out of this that was good."The one bright spot at times was Charde Houston, who had 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. She also had six turovers. It was that kind of night for the fourth-ranked Huskies -- one brilliant play followed by a pass off a teammate's head."We kind of let our good deeds get away from us," Houston said.The Mountaineers didn't make it easy on UConn, either."They were pretty aggressive and good defensively," Auriemma said. "They helped make us look pretty bad."The Huskies (21-2, 10-0 Big East) still did enough to win their ninth straight game. West Virginia (12-8, 4-5) was coming off an 82-70 upset of No. 11 DePaul, but couldn't climb back from an early 15-point deficit and lost to UConn for the 16th straight time.The Mountaineers were without leading scorer Meg Bulger, who was lost for the season when she tore a ligament in her left knee last week. She was averaging 19.8 points a game and led the nation in 3-pointers made with 3.5 per game."Connecticut is a great team. We're just short-handed," West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. "We had to make it a sloppy game because it was the only way we could play right now. Our girls didn't quit."Mel Thomas had 11 points and Barbara Turner added 10 for UConn. Ann Strother led the Huskies with nine rebounds and had three of UConn's eight blocks.It was UConn's first home game in 11 days. The Huskies were coming off tough road wins over DePaul and Lousville, and have No. 9 Rutgers, also unbeaten in the Big East, at home on Tuesday.Auriemma said the the two practices leading up to Saturday's game was the best the team has looked all season. But it was a sloppy, unfocused squad that took the floor against the Mountaineers."It's a reminder to ourselves that as good as we can be at times, as good as we can look for long stretches, we're not all there," Auriemma said. "We're not completely there, mentally or physically."Bulger's replacement Laquita Owens led the Mountaineers with 20 points. She had four 3-pointers including one at the final buzzer. Olahyinka Sanni had 11 points and Chakhia Cole grabbed a game-high 11 boards.West Virginia dominated the scoring inside with a 24-18 edge in the paint, but the Huskies' depth made the difference. UConn reserves, led by Houston, outscored their counterparts 20-6.The Mountaineers never led, but tied the Huskies 8-8 briefly after an 8-0 run. Strother and Houston countered with baskets and the Huskies gradually pulled away.Houston set the tone the rest of the period. She scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting and made all three of her free throws and UConn led by as many at 15 down the stretch. The Mountaineers cut the deficit to 10 with a 9-4 run in the closing minutes and trailed 31-21 at the half."Lucky for us we were able to pull it out because of a couple of hustle plays and good plays down the stretch," Strother said. "It didn't look like this one should have gone our way."
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