Georgia Tech shut down No. 3 UConn in its first game since an injury to reigning national player of the year Paige Bueckers, defeating the Huskies 57-44 in a defensive slugfest Thursday night.
With both teams struggling to muster offense, the game was tied at halftime (28-28) and at the end of the third quarter (39-39).
But Georgia Tech (7-2) pulled away in the fourth quarter before a raucous crowd of 4,578 — the sixth-largest in school history — to snap UConn’s 240-game winning streak against unranked opponents.
Lotta-Maj Lahtinen scored 15 points and Nerea Hermosa chipped in with 13 points for the Yellow Jackets.
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UConn, averaging 74.5 points a game with Bueckers, missed its first nine shots of the final period, along with committing six turnovers.
The Huskies (5-2) were held to a single free throw in the fourth until Evina Westbrook finally knocked down a shot with 1:18 remaining.
By then, it was far too late. UConn hit 18 of 58 shots (31%) and looked downright feeble without Bueckers.
Christyn Williams led UConn with 13 points but made just 1 of 8 from 3-point range.
Georgia Tech was holding opponents to an average of 46.3 points per game — and actually improved on that figure against the Huskies.
The Yellow Jackets were coming off a 55-54 victory at No. 21 Georgia, but they were dealt some stunning news about 24 hours before tipoff.
Associate head coach Tasha Butts revealed that she has been diagnosed with an advanced stage of breast cancer. The 39-year-old Butts said she intends to keep coaching as much as possible while undergoing treatment, but she was not on the bench for Thursday’s game.
Women’s basketball chief of staff Mickie DeMoss, a former head coach at Florida and Kentucky, filled in as an assistant on Nell Fortner’s staff.
Bueckers was injured in the final minute of Sunday’s 73-54 victory over Notre Dame. She suffered a fracture just below her left knee and will be sidelined for up to two months.
UConn also was without freshman Azzi Fudd, the nation’s consensus top recruit last year. She is resting a stress injury to her right foot and is expected to be out at least two weeks.
UConn: The Huskies got their first taste of playing without their best player — and it wasn’t pretty. They have now lost as many games as all of last season, when UConn reached its 13th straight Final Four but was upset in the semifinals by Arizona.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets showed plenty of focus after the difficult news regarding Butts. They picked up their first win over a top-3 team since 2009.
UConn: Returns home to face UCLA on Saturday.
Georgia Tech: Hosts Furman on Sunday.