UConn sur­vives to win 76th straight con­test

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Joe Reedy

UConn’s win­ning streak re­mains alive, just barely. Napheesa Col­lier scored 28 points and had a big block down in the fi­nal few sec­onds to lead the third-ranked Huskies to a 7876 win over No. 12 Florida State.

UConn’s win­ning streak re­mains alive, just barely.

Napheesa Col­lier scored 28 points and had a big block down in the fi­nal few sec­onds to lead the thir­dranked Huskies to a 7876 win over No. 12 Florida State on Mon­day night. UConn ex­tended its win­ning streak to 76 games, the third long­est streak in col­lege bas­ket­ball his­tory.

Florida State had a chance to beat the thir­dranked Huskies at the end, but Imani Wright’s 3-pointer was short al­low­ing the four-time de­fend­ing na­tional cham­pi­ons to hold on in their opener.

“There are a lot of happy coaches that watched tonight’s game say­ing you got out of there with that one but your time is com­ing,” coach Geno Auriemma said.

This is the Huskies’ first sin­gle-digit win in the reg­u­lar sea­son since a six­point vic­tory over St. John’s in 2013. It is also the first time since the 2011 Sweet 16 against Ge­orge­town (68-63) that they have won by five points or less.

The Semi­noles trailed 6559, but had a chance to tie it with 13.7 sec­onds left when Brit­tany Brown was fouled on a 3-point at­tempt by Kia Nurse. She made the first two to get within 77-76, but missed the third. The Huskies could not se­cure the ball and FSU (1-1) re­tained pos­ses­sion when it went out of bounds. Shakayla Thomas then drove the lane, but her shot was blocked Col­lier. Crys­tal Danger­field made the first free throw, but missed the sec­ond. Imani Wright missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“I think this kind of woke us up and showed us that we are a dif­fer­ent team than last year. We can’t just win on tal­ent. We have to play good, fun­da­men­tal bas­ket­ball,” said Col­lier, who also had eight re­bounds.

Saniya Chong scored 16 points and Katie Lou Sa­muel­son added 14 for the Huskies, whose win­ning streak sits only be­hind the team record of 90 straight set from 2008-10 and the UCLA men’s record of 88 con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries.

Wright led Florida State with 25 points while Brown added 16 points and 10 re­bounds.

“I wish we were sit­ting here ob­vi­ously on the other side of this hav­ing won it,” Florida State coach Sue Sem­rau said. “We gave our­selves a chance. We got the ball into two great scor­ers at the end. There’s no moral vic­tory here. The vic­tory is our growth as our bas­ket­ball team.”

BIG PIC­TURE

UConn: Auriemma said be­fore the game that this was a new world they were en­ter­ing after the grad­u­a­tions of Bre­anna Ste­wart, Mor­gan Tuck and Mo­riah Jef­fer­son. He also said he wasn’t go­ing to judge this team based on what hap­pened in Novem­ber, but con­sid­er­ing they were able to hold on to win at the road, that has to give his team a lit­tle bit of con­fi­dence. Florida State: The Semi­noles hung tough with­out start­ing point guard Leti­cia Romero, who missed her sec­ond straight game with a ham­string in­jury.

TURN­ING POINT

The Huskies trailed by four at half­time and then were down 37-30 with 9:08 re­main­ing in the third quar­ter, which is the largest deficit they have faced dur­ing the win­ning streak. They then went on a 14-2 run to take a five-point lead. The Semi­noles would tie it three more times in the sec­ond half but could never take the lead.

STEVE CAN­NON — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Con­necti­cut’s Napheesa Col­lier drives to the bas­ket as Florida State’s Ama Deg­beon de­fends dur­ing UConn’s 7876 vic­tory.

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