7:00 PM ET, February 25, 2006
STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- A freshman made sure that Connecticut's four seniors went out on top in their final home game.Renee Montgomery scored 15 points to lead the Huskies (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) to a 74-59 win over Big East newcomer Marquette on Saturday night."I just knew I wanted to play well for them, because you don't want anyone's special day to end up bad," Montgomery said.The rookie point guard hit a pair of 3s to open the game and led the Huskies' up-tempo attack. It was the third straight game in double figures for Montgomery, who was 3-of-4 from 3-point range and is finding her confidence with the postseason right around the corner."Sometimes if you're not making shots, you might hesitate and might throw your shot off," Montgomery said. "When you're just ready to shoot and have the confidence, it's a lot better."Barbara Turner and Charde Houston each scored 10 for the Huskies, who have won five straight.Turner joined fellow seniors Ann Strother, Willnett Crockett and Nicole Wolff in their final home game. The quartet has won two national championships and has 118-16 record over the four years. Turner and her teammates appreciated the lift they got from Montgomery."Renee has had her head screwed on straight these last few games," Turner said. "I know as a freshman, I started to hit my peak going into the NCAA tournament."Crockett and Turner combined for 14 boards as the Huskies (26-3, 14-1 Big East) outrebounded the Golden Eagles 38-27 and outscored them 36-20 in the paint.Svetlana Kovalenko led Marquette (17-9, 8-7) with 12 points and eight rebounds. Krystal Ellis added 11 points.Brittany Hunter sparked UConn off the bench in the first half. She entered after the Golden Eagles used a 6-2 run to take a 15-11 lead. The 6-foot-3 center scored six straight points in a 16-2 run.Marquette would get no closer than four the rest of the half. UConn closed the period on a 7-0 run and had a 41-30 lead at the break.Houston scored all 10 of her points in the second half and the Huskies led by as many as 19 down the stretch."We gave UConn too many easy shots," Marquette coach Terri Mitchell said. "They can score from every position. Offensively we needed an attacking mentality and when we did that in spurts we played very well."With the victory, the Huskies will go for a share of the conference regular-season title when they play at Rutgers on Monday. The No. 7 Scarlet Knights (23-3, 15-0) beat UConn 56-50 on Feb. 7. If UConn wins, Big East officials will determine the top seed for the conference tournament with a coin flip."I'm glad the that the (conference) set it up the way they did. That it's the last game of the season," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Ironically it ends up being for the Big East championship. If that's the way they had planned it, I'd say it was pretty good planning. But first you've got to do something that's really hard to do and that's beat them on their home court.The Scarlet Knights won the regular-season Big East title last year, snapping UConn's 11-year reign."We've got some good basketball left in us we haven't played yet," Auriemma said. "There's a lot that still has to come together for us and hopefully it will be Monday night."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||23-58 (.397)||26-55 (.473)|
|3P Made-Attempted||7-21 (.333)||6-15 (.400)|
|FT Made-Attempted||6-10 (.600)||16-24 (.667)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||19 (0/0)||8 (0/0)|