3:00 PM ET, February 11, 2007
BATON ROUGE, La. -- If Renee Montgomery wants to shoot from several feet behind the 3-point line with the game in the balance, Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma isn't going to say anything to dissuade her.
Montgomery connected from about 25 feet with 2 minutes left, and again from a couple feet behind the 3-point line with 6.7 seconds to go, lifting Connecticut (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today; No. 5 AP) to a 72-71 victory over No. 7 LSU on Sunday.
Porsha Phillips hit a buzzer-beater from the top of the key, sending the home crowd and LSU bench into a brief moment of pandemonium before referees confirmed by looking at a TV replay that Phillips' foot was on the line, meaning it was a two-point shot, not a tying 3.
Then it was the women wearing blue jumping, embracing and shouting in celebration as a hush fell over the rest of the stadium.
It wasn't just an impressive victory over another Top 10 team. UConn became the first visiting team to win in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center since February of 2004, snapping LSU's 43-game home winning streak.
Montgomery finished with 20 points and hit five 3-pointers as UConn (22-2) won its eighth straight. Tina Charles had 17 points and nine rebounds for Huskies, while Kalana Greene had 15 points.
Sylvia Fowles led LSU (22-4) with 22 points and 17 rebounds. Quianna Chaney had 16 points, including a quick-release baseline jumper on an inbound pass that tied the score at 69 with 17.1 seconds left.
On LSU's final possession, guard Erica White was open on the right wing, and Phillips, thinking White would shoot, had begun to moved toward the basket to get into position for a rebound. When she saw White pull back, Phillips quickly moved back to the top of the key, but by then did not have time to check her feet. She stepped back quickly once after catching the pass from White and shot with a second left.
"I was really confident about the shot. I thought it was a 3," Phillips said. "I thought Erica was going to take the shot, but she just passed it to me and I just shot it."
UConn was running screens on the perimeter for Montgomery, who said Auriemma had told her during warm-ups that she had the green light to shoot if LSU leaves her open in those situations.
"I found an opening and took it," Montgomery said.
LSU coach Pokey Chatman said her team wanted to defend Montgomery closer on the perimeter, but White slipped on Montgomery's last, decisive 3.
As the for longer one before that?
"The one that was shot from the radio guy's booth is difficult to get on somebody about," Chatman said.
Chatman said the game should not have come to that anyway, because her team had dominated early in building a 12-point first-half lead and had an opportunity to put the Huskies in the huge hole.
LSU was in the bonus late in the half, and Chatman had instructed her squad to try to draw fouls with aggressive play inside.
"My charge to the team was I would like to go to the free throw line six to eight times" before the half ended, Chatman said. "Not only did we not get to the line, but we had several hollow possessions, lost momentum and five or six points going into the half."
Charles, a 6-foot-4 freshman averaging 11.9 points coming in, halted the Huskies' early slide with a tough turnaround in the paint over the 6-6 Fowles. Charles then scored on a putback, a pair of free throws and another inside basket to reduce LSU's lead to 37-31 by halftime.
In the locker room, Auriemma told his squad that they were too reliant on Charles in the opening 20 minutes.
"We tried to beat LSU with one player in the first half," Auriemma said. "You can't beat a good team on the road, especially as good a team as LSU, unless three or four people are able to contribute and I thought that's what happened in the second half."
UConn surged into the lead with an 11-0 run to open the second half. Greene's three-point play on a putback started it and 3-pointers by Montgomery and Thomas put UConn up 42-37.
Fowles' putback and Chaney's 3 helped the Lady Tigers tie the score at 46. But Greene's stunning reverse layup in traffic ignited a 9-0 UConn run, and her off-balance, one-handed floater off the glass as she was falling away from the basket put the Huskies up 57-49.
Connecticut led by as much as nine points several times in the second half, the last time on Greene's jumper that made it 60-51 with 9:23 to go.
But Fowles scored inside shortly after, igniting a 10-2 LSU run, ending with Chaney's pull-up jumper in the paint that cut UConn's lead to 62-61. Phillips scored 12 points for LSU and Allison Hightower 11.
Charde Houston scored 12 points for UConn, while Mel Thomas hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second half to give the Huskies seven baskets from long range for the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||29-62 (.468)||30-69 (.435)|
|3P Made-Attempted||7-13 (.538)||4-10 (.400)|
|FT Made-Attempted||7-9 (.778)||7-8 (.875)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||11 (0/0)||10 (0/0)|