One of the UConn women's basketball team's many streaks was snapped Thursday night when the Huskies suffered their first regular-season loss since 2014.
In their first test of 2019, the top-ranked Huskies fell to No. 8 Baylor in Waco, Texas, 68-57. UConn was plagued with shooting trouble early in the game, never fully recovering against a strong defensive effort from Baylor.
* This marks UConn's first regulation loss in its last 209 games.— ESPN Women's Hoops (@ESPN_WomenHoop) January 4, 2019
* UConn had won 126 straight regular-season games.
* Last time UConn lost a true road game in regulation was Dec. 18, 2011 -- at No. 1 Baylor. (Via @ESPNStatsInfo)
UConn was led by senior Napheesa Collier with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Katie Lou Samuelson (12 points, 11 rebounds). Crystal Dangerfield scored 11 points, while Megan Walker had 10 and Christyn Williams ended the night with eight. They shot 29 percent from the field, scoring only 10 points in the paint.
The Huskies got off to a slow start, struggling against Baylor's size advantage. They shot just 23.5 percent in the first quarter, while the Bears shot 43.8 percent. The only UConn players who scored in the first quarter -- aside from free throws -- were Dangerfield, Collier and Walker. With a few uncontested shots, Baylor quickly took the lead and finished the first quarter up 16-13.
Baylor extended its lead in the second quarter, going up by as much as nine points before the Huskies started to rally back in the final three minutes of the half. Collier gave the Huskies their momentum, knocking down a 3-pointer followed immediately by a steal on the other end of the court. One made free throw later, Collier had UConn trailing by just five points. Samuelson and Walker both hit threes, followed by a last second offensive rebound and putback from Samuelson sent the Huskies into halftime down 30-29.
Just over a minute into the third quarter, Samuelson sank a three to tie it up at 32-32, but the momentum quickly went back to Baylor. The Bears went on a 9-2 run and the Ferrell Center exploded as they went into a timeout up 41-34.
But UConn has a habit of fighting back just when things seem to be trending too far in the wrong direction, and that's exactly what it did. A few made shots and it felt like the Huskies were back in it, but turnovers and fouls helped Baylor pull away again. This time, UConn let Baylor get out to a 10-point lead before back-to-back threes from Williams silenced the Bears' crowd as the quarter ended. Baylor led 51-47 at the end of the quarter.
This is UConn's first road loss in regulation since Dec. 18, 2011 ... which was also against Baylor. pic.twitter.com/OxNb7aX4yW— espnW (@espnW) January 4, 2019
The fourth quarter began with a string of missed shots from behind the arc for UConn, once again putting them down by 10. The deficit would prove too much to overcome as they continued to struggle against Baylor's defense.
(c)2019 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)