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Recap: No. 3 UConn shut down No. 23 Tennessee with 60-45 win

In their first matchup since 2007, the No. 3 UConn Huskies’ defense held the No. 23 Tennessee Lady Volunteers to just 14 points in the second half.

Tennessee at Connecticut
Crystal Dangerfield (#5) led the UConn Huskies to victory in the revival of their rivalry with the Tennessee Lady Vols.
Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The No. 3 UConn Huskies improved to 17-1 on the season with a 60-45 victory over the No. 23 Tennessee Lady Volunteers. With the win, the Huskies improved their record in the famed rivalry to 14-9 and end their three-game slide against the Lady Volunteers. Although this was the first time the schools had faced each other since 2007. The rivals had met 22 times in the regular season and in the NCAA Tournament between 1995 and 2007.

How it happened

The Lady Volunteers built just a three-point lead going into halftime, primarily because the Huskies shot so poorly in the second quarter (5-of-21). In the third quarter, the Huskies took the lead early and never looked back, outscoring the Lady Volunteers 21-7 and holding them to 14 points in the second half.

The play that led to UConn taking the lead was indicative of Tennessee’s night: a Lady Vols’ turnover leading to a Huskies score. UConn forced 27 turnovers that led to 15 points and the ability for the Huskies to control the game. This is the third game that the Lady Volunteers had gone over 20 turnovers and they are now 0-3 on such occasions.

Tennessee’s Rennia Davis led all scorers with 16 points, 12 of which came in the first half. But she committed four turnovers for the third straight game and she has committed four or more turnovers in eight games this year.

Crystal Dangerfield led UConn with 14 points, and it was her 10 points in the first half that kept the game close. Dangerfield started the game shooting 4-of-4 in the opening period but dropped to 12.5 percent (2-of-16) shooting the rest of the way. Huskies leading scorer for the season, Megan Walker, had her worst performance, shooting 20 percent (3-of-15) and scoring just nine points.

Walker had not scored fewer than 14 points in any game this season.

Freshman Aubrey Griffin came off the bench to score 13 points, her fourth double-figure scoring effort this season and second straight — she scored 11 points in 18 minutes over Tulsa on Jan. 19. Griffin also contributed seven rebounds and five steals in Thursday’s win against the Lady Vols.

Olivia Nelson-Ododa was a major factor in the final quarter, scoring eight of the Huskies’ 11 points. She finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Looking ahead

Both teams return to conference play in their next matchups. Tennessee returns home Sunday (1 p.m. ET on SEC Network) to face an LSU team that is 4-2 in the SEC and just beat No. 11 Kentucky 65-59. UConn travels to Greenville, North Carolina, to face Eastern Carolina University on Saturday (1 p.m. ET on ESPN3) with hopes to remain unbeaten in the AAC.