Nov. 16, 2010: And By One. No. 1 Huskies Rally From Eight Down, Escape With Win
On Nov. 16, 2010 Bria Hartley made this three-pointer to put the UConn women up for good in a hard-fought battle against Baylor. The three concluded a run of eight straight points for the Huskies' freshman as UConn held on for a 65-64 win. (JOHN WOIKE, HARTFORD COURANT / November 16, 2010)
Griner, Baylor's 6-foot-8 sophomore center, is certainly headed in that direction; tall, talented, full of potential.
Then again, that's a story for another year. Maybe Bob Costas can tell it.
Tuesday at the XL Center was about the present, and for now when Griner wins, Auriemma loses. And that's not good for UConn.
Here's the thing: What Auriemma and his UConn women had, Griner and the Bears wanted: the nation's No. 1 ranking and the 79-game winning streak it carried into this game between the nation's top two teams.
Well, maybe next time. UConn still has Maya Moore. And now it has freshmen Samarie Walker and Bria Hartley.
Moore, the three-time All-American, scored 30 points and Hartley scored eight of her nine in the final five minutes to help the Huskies wipe out an eight-point deficit in the final 6:51 to beat the Bears 65-64 before 12,628.
"I didn't think they had it in them because they've never had to do something like this before," Auriemma said. "And I don't think they knew they had it in them either."
UConn's winning streak, the longest in NCAA Division I women's basketball history, is now 80.
Tiffany Hayes scored 16 for UConn (2-0).
"Do you see us crying?" Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "No."
The Huskies had a 15-point lead (44-29) with 16:02 to play and watched it evaporate in a 27-4 Baylor run, spurred by Griner (19 points, nine blocks), who systematically scored and fouled out Walker and Stefanie Dolson in the process.
"I had never seen a 6-8 female person before in my life," said Walker, who is 6 feet 1.
Nor had Hartley, the high school All-America guard, ever seen a night go like this one was going.
"Coach kept telling me to keep shooting," she said. "And if you are a good shooter, you always think your shot is going in."
Still, the Huskies, who had won 78 of their 79 games by double-figures, were in a unique spot with a young team.
"There was a time when I began to think, 'Well, we've never been here [in a spot like this] before,' " Moore said. " 'Can we do it?' Well, the answer was beautiful."
The Huskies came back to tie it at 58 on a three by Hartley, again on an offensive rebound by Hartley and then took a 63-60 lead on a Hartley three with 2:09 to play.
Things then moved back and forth, the Bears closing within one on Kimetra Hayden's basket with 1:31 to play, the Huskies pushing it back on Moore's jumper 15 seconds later.