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No. 6 Connecticut 82, Georgetown 55

February 20, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Shea Ralph, the former super-sub getting her fourth consecutive start, scored 25 points and the defense smothered the Big East’s leading scorer as No. 6 Connecticut defeated Georgetown 82-55 Saturday.

Ralph, averaging 23 points since moving into the starting lineup because of injuries, was 9-for-14 from the field and 5-for-7 from the free-throw line. Svetlana Abrosimova added 14 points and six assists as the Huskies (23-4, 16-1) kept pace with Rutgers atop the Big East standings.

A victory at Syracuse on Tuesday would give UConn, which beat Rutgers in their only head-to-head meeting, its sixth consecutive regular-season title.

Although Georgetown (15-10, 9-8) has one of its best teams this decade, the Hoyas once again couldn’t stay with the conference’s elite team. Katie Smrcka-Duffy, averaging 21 points coming in, found no room to work against a rotation of Huskies defenders and was just 1-for-9 with no free throws and two points in the first half.

Smrcka-Duffy finished 3-for-15 from the field with nine points, most of them coming in the second half when Georgetown made its futile effort to come back from a double-figures deficit. Melba Chambers led the Hoyas with 14 points.

The Hoyas, who lost 106-49 at Connecticut on Jan. 16, shot 27 percent in the first half, scored only one field goal over a stretch of nearly nine minutes and were occasionally reduced to literally throwing the ball at the basket.

Down 40-25 at halftime, the Hoyas never got closer than 14 points in the second half. They were outrebounded 50-32 for the game.

Ralph helped start the early decisive spurt, hitting a 17-footer to tie the game 8-8. She then followed with a 3-pointer to give the Huskies the lead for good in a 32-8 run that made the score 36-16.

Connecticut has won 10 straight against the Georgetown. The Hoyas’ last victory was in 1993.

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