Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Snow 26° Snow
Sports >  National sports

No. 2 Connecticut takes early lead, dominates No. 1 Notre Dame 89-71

Connecticut's Megan Walker, center, grabs a rebound between Notre Dame's Jackie Young, left, and Danielle Patterson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. (Robert Franklin / Associated Press)
Connecticut's Megan Walker, center, grabs a rebound between Notre Dame's Jackie Young, left, and Danielle Patterson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. (Robert Franklin / Associated Press)
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Freshman Christyn Williams scored a career-high 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting and No. 2 Connecticut never lost the lead after the 6:36 mark of the first quarter in dominating No. 1 Notre Dame 89-71 on Sunday.

All-American Katie Lou Samuelson, who was held scoreless by the Irish in the first half, had 15 points, including a three-point play that gave Geno Auriemma’s Huskies a 74-64 lead with 6:08 to play. The Huskies’ biggest lead was 19 points late.

Napheesa Collier added 16 points with 15 rebounds. Crystal Dangerfield scored 13 points and Megan Walker had 12 as the Huskies (7-0) ended a 28-game winning streak at home by Muffet McGraw’s Irish, who beat UConn 91-89 in overtime in last season’s NCAA semifinals on way to their second national championship. In its last 100 games at home, Notre Dame is 97-3 – with all the losses coming against the Huskies.

Jackie Young, who scored 32 against the Huskies last March, led the Irish with 18 points. Arike Ogunbowale had 17 points and 10 rebounds, but just five points after halftime. Jessica Shepard scored 13, Marina Mabrey 11 and Brianna Turner 10 for Notre Dame (7-1).

Williams scored 16 points – one off her career high of 17 against Purdue on Nov. 24 – in the first 10 minutes on 7-of-8 shooting as UConn forged a 27-22 lead. Her basket gave UConn an 8-6 lead with 6:36 to go in the quarter, a lead the Huskies would not relinquish.

Turner blocked two shots by Samuelson in the second quarter as the Irish kept the 6-foot-3 senior scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting. But the All-American contributed in other areas with six assists, three rebounds, a block and a steal as the Huskies maintained their halftime advantage.

Notre Dame four times closed within a basket of tying UConn. But a 2:30 span without a field goal allowed the Huskies to pull away to a 43-35 lead on Dangerfield’s fall-away basket with 2:37 to play before McGraw called a timeout.

Mabrey made two free throws to pull the Irish to 44-41 with 1:20 left but she missed a tying 3-point attempt and looked winded, the result of missing the first five games with a quad injury. That’s how the half ended as UConn somehow didn’t get off a shot in the final 17 seconds after a steal.

The Huskies started the third quarter on an 11-5 run to take a nine-point lead on Walker’s 3-pointer. During the run Samuelson scored her first four points, two from the free-throw line and two more on a driving lay-in. But the Irish chipped away and got to 55-53 on Mabrey’s 3 with 4:20 to play. But the Huskies pulled away on a 10-6 run led by Samuelson and Williams for a 65-59 lead heading into the final quarter.

A three-point play by Williams, off a drop pass from Samuelson, gave the Huskies a nine-point lead again with 7:40 left.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.