UConn holds off Lady Vols 63-62 in OT

Sunday, January 5, 2003

HARTFORD, Conn. -- As Tennessee ran off the Hartford Civic Center floor, stung by yet another loss to Connecticut, one of the 16,000-plus fans shouted what the Lady Vols already knew: "Too much Taurasi!"

Diana Taurasi kept the third-ranked Huskies rolling toward the record book with a 25-point performance that included the tying shot in regulation and the game-winner with 31 seconds left in overtime of UConn's 63-62 victory.

With 51 straight wins, the Huskies (12-0) have the second-longest winning streak in NCAA history, behind Louisiana Tech's 54 straight victories from 1980-82.

"This one feels really good, knowing that we had every chance to lose the ballgame," Taurasi said.

The All-American made a 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds left to send the game to the extra period tied at 56-56. She also made a jaw-dropping 3-pointer from about 60 feet away as time expired in the first half to put UConn ahead 29-26.

"It was just luck," she said of that shot. "There is no other way to put it."

The fifth-ranked Lady Vols (9-3) were bigger inside and had more experience, with coach Pat Summitt returning nine veterans from last year's Final Four team. Taurasi, by contrast, is the only returning starter from the Huskies' national championship team.

"We came into this game outmanned in every area. We knew if we didn't come in here and play hard, with a lot of passion, then we would probably get drilled," Taurasi said.

UConn leads the series against Tennessee 10-6, and Saturday marked only the third time in the rivalry's history that one of the schools wasn't ranked No. 1.

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