SYRACUSE, NY (Feb. 13, 2002) -- After a close first half, the No. 1 University of Connecticut womens basketball team used a second half run to pull away from Syracuse, 85-55, at Manley Field House in Syracuse, NY, on Wednesday night. UConn remains unbeaten at 27-0 overall, 13-0 in the BIG EAST, with three regular season games remaining while Syracuse falls to 14-9, 7-5 in the conference.
Syracuse ran to the early 5-0 lead before senior Swin Cash (McKeesport, PA) could put UConn on the board at the 18:42 mark. More than four minutes would elaspe before the Huskies claimed their first advantage at 10-9 with 15:54 remaining.
Relying on sharpshooting from beyond the arc, the Orangewomen again regained their lead on four occasions only to see UConn open a 29-24 lead on two free throws by senior Sue Bird (Syosset, NY) with 8:02 left in the half. Julie McBride, who had three of Syracuses six first half three-pointers, answered with a three but UConn responded with eight unanswered points.
Syracuse missed eight consecutive field goals before Leaf Newman hit a three to cut the Husky lead to 37-30 at the 3:13 mark. A Jaime James layup trimmed the advantage to 39-33 but UConn took its largest lead of the half to the lockerroom at 44-33 as sophomore Diana Taurasi (Chino, CA) drained a three with two seconds remaining.
Cash posted 17 of UConns 44 points in the half while the Orangewomen shot 6-for-12 from three-point range.
UConn extended its lead to 13 points on a layup by senior Asjha Jones (Piscataway, NJ) to start the second half, but the Huskies committed three straight turnovers to allow Syracuse to narrow the advantage to eight points at 46-38 as McBride nailed another three and a jumper.
After trading baskets on the next four possessions, the Huskies began to edge away from the Orangewomen, opening up a 60-43 lead with 12:13 remaining and eventually rolling to the 85-55 victory.
Taurasi finished with a game-high 24 points and eight assists for UConn while Cash recorded 17 points and eight rebounds and Jones had 12 points. Sophomore Maria Conlon (Derby, CT) provided a spark off the bench with 11 points.
UConn shot 55 percent from the floor in the contest.
In contrast, Syracuse managed to shoot just 35 percent from the floor, including a 28 percent mark for the second half as the Orangewomen began to miss the mark and hit only 1-for-6 from beyond the arc. McBride led Syracuse with 16 points. Perry and Jazmine Wright had 13 and 10, respectively.
UConn has a full week off before its next contest, a 7:30 p.m. matchup with Providence next Wednesday, Feb. 20 at Gampel Pavilion. The game will be Senior Night and the last home contest for UConn seniors Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones and Tamika Williams.