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    Tuesday, March 05, 2024

    No. 10 Texas rolls over UConn 80-68, sending No. 11 Huskies to third loss of young season

    UConn forward Ice Brady (25) dribbles the ball toward Texas' basket during an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (Aaron E. Martinez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
    UConn head coach Geno Auriemma walks the sideline before halftime during an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (Aaron E. Martinez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
    UConn guard Aubrey Griffin (4) hands a recovered rebound to guard Nika Mühl, second from right, during the women's basketball game against the Texas Longhorns at the Moody Center on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 in Austin./Austin American-Statesman via AP)
    UConn forward Ice Brady (25) reacts after a call by an official during an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (Aaron E. Martinez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

    Austin, Texas — Rori Harmon scored points 27 and had 13 assists, and No. 10 Texas earned the program's first ever win over No. 11 UConn 80-68 on Sunday, sending the struggling Huskies to their third loss of the early season.

    Freshman Madison Booker added 20 points and four assists for Texas (9-0) which had been 0-10 against the Huskies (4-3). Sunday was the eighth time in the series both teams had been ranked in the top 15.

    "Our kids were really ready," Texas coach Vic Schaefer said. "These kids answered the question, 'Are they that good?'"

    Texas bolted to a 15-3 lead as the Longhorns made their first six shots in the biggest game of their season so far. Booker, Harmon and Shaylee Gonzales made consecutive 3-pointers.

    "I told them if we don't punch first, we'll be a punching bag all day," Schaefer said.

    The Longhorns looked to be in total control when the lead stretched to the 18 in the third quarter. Gonzales' buzzer-beating layup to close the period made it 60-43 heading into the fourth.

    UConn rallied by making its first 10 shots of the final period to cut the deficit to 74-68 before Amina Muhammad's layup, and two free throws by Harmon with 46 seconds left pushed the lead back to 10. That ended the Huskies' threat.

    Aaliyah Edwards led UConn with 22 points. Huskies star Paige Bueckers, who missed last season with a knee injury, scored 13 points but only five came in the first half while blanketed defensively by Harmon. She was 4-of-11 shooting and did not score in the second quarter.

    "Aaliyah was brilliant. She was exhausted out there," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Maybe she's still rusty, but I thought Paige was lousy today. I thought she was bad. And I told her that."

    Schaefer called Harmon "relentless" on Bueckers.

    "Rori not only ran our team, she guarded the best two-guard in the country," Schaefer said.

    Big picture

    UConn: The Huskies are struggling and likely to continue tumbling in the rankings into territory they have not seen in a long time. UConn has not been ranked lower than No. 11 since they were No. 13 in the penultimate Associated Press poll of the 2004-2005 season.

    Guard Azzi Fudd was lost for the season with a knee injury in November and guard Caroline Ducharme missed her third consecutive game with neck problems.

    "Our goal is to be a much better team in March than we are (now)," Auriemma said.

    Texas: Booker was the preseason Big 12 freshman of the year and she certainly was not cowed by the biggest game of her young career. In fact, she thrived. The 6-foot-1 forward from Missi has the ball skills to relieve Harmon at point guard and oozed confidence every time she touched the ball.

    Stat sheet

    UConn shot 59% in the loss but gave up 36 points off of 21 turnovers. Texas also had 16 offensive rebounds, which led to a 15-2 scoring advantage on second-chance points.

    Up next

    UConn hosts Ball State on Wednesday.

    Texas hosts Long Beach State on Wednesday.

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