DePaul Falls to Connecticut
CHICAGO (AP) -Top-ranked Connecticut survived a scare and avoided the big upset.
Ketia Swanier hit the go-ahead layup with 1.6 seconds left Saturday night and the Huskies rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit to beat DePaul 77-76.
The Huskies (28-1, 14-1) close the season at home Monday against Rutgers - the only team to beat UConn this season - with the Big East regular-season title at stake.
After DePaul (18-10, 7-8) let its huge lead get away, Allie Quigley's baseline jumper with 30.9 seconds to go put the Blue Demons ahead 76-74.
After a UConn timeout, Renee Montgomery attempted a 3-pointer but Quigley fouled her with 14.6 seconds left. Montgomery missed the first free throw, made the second and then missed the third.
In a scramble, the ball was knocked out to DePaul's Missy Mitidiero, but UConn's Maya Moore came from behind to steal it and call a timeout with 7 seconds left.
Swanier then drove the floor and through the lane for a layup with 1.6 seconds left, putting the Huskies up 77-76. On the inbounds pass, The ball was knocked out of bounds and after officials reviewed the play, 1.4 seconds was restored and DePaul got the ball at midcourt. A long pass under the basket was knocked out of bounds and officials again went to review how much time was left.
This time DePaul got possession under its basket with 0.6 left but Taylor Pikes' tip attempt was wide and the upset bid was over.
Montgomery had 23 points to lead the Huskies. Moore added 16 and Tina Charles 15.
In her final home game, Quigley scored 27 to lead DePaul and Deirdre Naughton added 19. After hitting 8-of-14 3-pointers in the opening half, the Blue Demons were only 1-for-8 in the second.
The game was played in DePaul's on-campus McGrath Arena, a noisy 3,000-seat arena, and the Blue Demons used the home court advantage to take a 12-point halftime lead. They forced the Huskies into 14 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, and Quigley and Naughton had 13 points each in the first half.
UConn was giving up just 49.6 points per game this season and DePaul nearly reached that in the first half.
Quigley was fouled on a jump shot attempt just before the buzzer ending the first half. After officials reviewed a tape of the final play, they determined there were still 1.1 seconds left and Quigley made both free throws to put the Blue Demons up 47-35.
Quigley then converted a three-point play three minutes into the second half as the Blue Demons pushed the lead to 54-39 against the Huskies, who were out of synch most of the night.
The lead climbed to 17 at 56-39 before UConn came back. A 3-pointer by Montgomery and baskets by Charde Houston and Moore during an 18-8 rally cut the lead to 64-57 with 7 minutes to go. Moore hit another jumper to slice it to five and set the stage for a frenzied finish as the Huskies picked up the defense and ate away at the lead.
Montgomery's 3-pointer to cap an 11-2 run gave the Huskies a 72-70 lead with 3:22 left.
Naughton scored to tie it and Quigley got the lead back for the Blue Demons, hitting a floater from the baseline with 2:13 to go. Moore's layup tied it again with 1:42 left.
DePaul, which has been in the Top 25 for a good portion of the season before dropping out in February, played a ranked team for the ninth time this season and is 3-6. The Blue Demons lost to then No. 3 Tennessee at home two months ago 102-68.
Game Notes: DePaul's starting lineup of its five seniors marked the sixth different starting lineup this season... the 47 first-half points scored by the Blue Demons were the most allowed in any half by Connecticut this season... DePaul's 12-point halftime lead and 17-point lead overall marked the largest leads blown this season in those categories... the Blue Demons are now 4-4 in games decided by five points or less and 3-6 against ranked teams this season... all-time at McGrath Arena, DePaul is 5-10 against ranked teams... the three-game losing streak is the longest of the season... Connecticut leads the series, 4-1, and has won all four meetings in BIG EAST play.