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Late surge carries UConn women’s basketball past USF, 67-47

The Huskies warded off their first AAC loss thanks to a strong fourth quarter.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

An 11-0 fourth quarter run helped lift UConn women’s basketball past the USF Bulls, 67-47. The Huskies maintain their perfect record in AAC play, improving to 131-0.

After taking an early 6-3 lead, UConn fell behind midway through the first quarter after three straight buckets from USF. The Huskies looked uninspired in the early going which translated into their play as UConn scraped together just 13 points in the first quarter.

The Huskies’ offensive woes carried into the second quarter, where they only managed 12 points total. However, their defense finally woke up and limited the Bulls to just 10 points after allowing 19 in the first. UConn drew even with just under three minutes to play in the half and appeared poised to pull ahead before its offense went cold and failed to score over the final 2:56.

Turnovers plagued the Huskies throughout the first half, who coughed it up 10 times en route to 18 USF points. The sophomores struggled in particular, with Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Christyn Williams combining for seven of the turnovers. At the half, UConn trailed 29-25.

Out the break, UConn came out strong defensively, forcing a miss on the Bulls’ six shot attempts. While USF struggled to find the basket, the Huskies pulled off a 9-1 run to seize the lead for the first time since the opening quarter. Though the hosts tied it at 34 apiece shortly after, UConn responded with back-to-back baskets from Megan Walker and Aubrey Griffin and never looked back.

The Huskies opened the fourth quarter with two straight baskets from the same two players and after a Bulls jumper, UConn exploded on the 11-0 run that extended its lead up to 18 points with just over two minutes left. From there, USF made just two more baskets as the Huskies came away with the 20-point victory.

Walker led the team with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting while Olivia Nelson-Ododa followed closely behind with 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting and eight rebounds to boot. Crystal Dangerfield and Williams both scored eight points each while freshman Aubrey Griffin contributed eight points as well.

Despite the 10 first half turnovers, the Huskies gave the ball up just twice in the second half while forcing USF into nine of its own. The Bulls offense also ground to a halt in the final two quarters as they made just six baskets total.

After the scare, UConn returns home to the XL Center to face Tulane on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Huskies’ next four games will be broadcast on SNY and ESPN3.