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
"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
"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
"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
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."