Connecticut 71, Louisiana Tech 55
RUSTON, La. (AP) _ Louisiana Tech slowed top-ranked Connecticut’s fast-break offense, broke its press and limited the defending national champions to their lowest scoring output of the season.
Still, that wasn’t enough to stop UConn.
Swin Cash had 19 points and 14 rebounds as Connecticut won its 28th straight game, beating No. 8 Louisiana Tech 71-55 Sunday night.
``Sometimes we’re going to be forced into playing a different type of game, and that’s what happened tonight,″ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ``The good thing is we found other ways to win tonight.″
Svetlana Abrosimova scored 12 and Asjha Jones 10 for UConn (11-0), which went ahead for good midway through the first half.
Tech (12-4), which had won five in a row, held its only lead at 14-13 on Ayana Walker’s putback 7 1/2 minutes into the game.
Takesha Lewis led Tech with 16 points, while Walker added 11 points while Cheryl Ford and Kenya Bibbs each had 10.
Tech coach Leon Barmore, who had his jersey retired before the game, was pleased with an effort that kept his team close to a UConn squad that was averaging 94.8 points and a victory margin of 39.5 points.
``I thought our defense was outstanding,″ Barmore said. ``Our offense is just not executing.″
Down by 10 points midway through the first half, Tech went on a 12-4 run highlighted by Brooke Lassiter’s 3-point field goal to pull within 30-26.
But Cash hit a 15-foot jumper and UConn took a 37-29 halftime lead.
Tech pulled back within six points three times in the second half, the last time at 51-45 after Ford converted offensive rebounds on consecutive trips down the floor.
``If we could have gotten it down to at least four, I felt very good about our chances, but we never could get over the hump,″ Barmore said ``They just kept coming back and getting key buckets.″
Connecticut pulled away with a balanced attack that produced scoring from nine players, and was in control when Diana Taurasi hit a 3-pointer to make it 61-49 with 4:40 left.
``The good thing about our team is we always seem to have somebody different stepping up,″ Auriemma said. ``It’s good to know you can go to other people beside your regulars.″
Barmore also was impressed with UConn’s depth.
``Connecticut just keeps running in good players. You don’t see much difference between their first and second teams,″ he said.
Connecticut outshot Tech from the floor 45.5 percent to 32.1 percent. UConn also outrebounded Tech 53-30.
``We just couldn’t get off consistently good shots,″ said Walker. ``Their defense is very tough. The best we’ve played this year.″
At halftime, Louisiana Tech retired Barmore’s No. 12 jersey in honor of his playing days in Ruston.
Barmore scored 1,168 points in three seasons, and ranks 23rd on the school’s career list. He is one of only three players in Tech history to score more than 1,000 points in only a three-year career _ the other two are Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz and Jackie Moreland, who played for the Detroit Pistons.
In 19 years as a women’s coach, Barmore’s all-time record is 532-81.