UConn Overcomes Strong Maryland Showing 83-73 - NBC Connecticut
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UConn Overcomes Strong Maryland Showing 83-73

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    UConn Overcomes Strong Maryland Showing 83-73
    AP
    Left: Connecticut forward Breanna Stewart drives around Maryland guard Ieshia Small. Right: Maryland center Brionna Jones defends as Connecticut forward Morgan Tuck drives to the basket at Madison Square Garden in New York, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. Connecticut defeated Maryland 83-73.

    UConn hasn't been in too many close games during its current 47-game winning streak. For 40 minutes on Monday night, Maryland went toe-to-toe with the No. 1 team in the country, unlike any had during the Huskies' current run.

    But in the end, just like in the previous 46 games, UConn prevailed.

    Breanna Stewart scored 23 points and Moriah Jefferson added 17 to help the Huskies beat the sixth-ranked Terrapins 83-73 in the Maggie Dixon Classic.

    "We can't manufacture these kind of games they just have to happen," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "We're a really good team obviously but there's a lot of other good teams. Sometimes we make it look like we're the only good team on the floor. Tonight there were two really good teams on the floor. We had to make some shots and stops and had to make free throws had to get a rebound. All those things are good. All those things will help us going forward."

    UConn (10-0) had won its previous 46 games by double digits and most of those contests had been decided well before the final few minutes. But with a minute left at Madison Square Garden, the Huskies were clinging to a four-point lead over the undefeated Terrapins (11-1).

    Saniya Chong, who had missed the previous three games with an IT band injury, hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 40 seconds remaining to give the Huskies some breathing room and they held on for the victory, continuing their run of double figure wins and equaling the third-longest winning streak in school history.

    Maryland trailed 40-32 early in the third quarter before scoring 11 of the next 12 points to take a two-point lead on Brianna Fraser's three-point play with 4:35 left in the period.

    UConn closed the quarter with a 15-4 run to go up nine points. The Huskies extended the lead to 59-47, its first double-digit advantage of the game. Maryland rallied within four — hitting four 3-pointers, the last by Tierney Pfirman with 1:10 left that made it 75-71.

    "Nobody wants to lose, we're one of the most competitive teams out there," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "Proud of how we responded punch for punch. If you look at UConn and the games they've played in, that knockout punch comes and you don't recover."

    This was the fifth ranked opponent UConn has beaten this season, including three teams that were in the Top Ten when they played.

    Until the fourth quarter, Maryland wasn't incredibly successful from 3, but used its athleticism to stay close. They forced UConn into 13 first-half turnovers, but only one in the second half.

    Brionna Jones scored 24 points to lead the Terrapins.

    "We were right there," said Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who added 14 points for Maryland. "I never like taking the 'L.' Now we know what we're capable of doing. Definitely a learning experience."