NEW YORK (AP) — Tennessee saw three of its incredible streaks end this week as the 13th-ranked Lady Vols have a three-game losing streak for the first time in 33 years.
They also lost three Southeastern Conference games for the first time in school history. The team, which hadn’t dropped three in a row overall since 1986, wasn’t far off from winning all of those games — losing by a combined eight points. Tennessee lost to Missouri 66-64 on Jan. 6. The Lady Vols then fell at home to Kentucky 73-71 on Thursday, before losing at Georgia 66-62 on Sunday. The first two games were at home, the first time they lost consecutive home games since December 1996.
The Lady Vols blew a 17-point first-half lead against Georgia.
“A tale of two halves,” Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. “Hey, Georgia was tougher than us in the second half, tougher down the stretch.”
Tennessee will have a chance to end its current skid on Thursday at Alabama.
Not even UConn can say it had a streak that long without three straight losses. The Huskies do have an amazing run of not losing consecutive games since the end of the 1993 season. Earlier that year, the team lost three in a row.
DID YOU SEE THAT?: Fran Belibi is still only in high school, but the Stanford-bound senior has already gone viral.
Belibi dunked a one-handed alley-oop on the break off an assist from sophomore Avery Vansickle. The star from Regis Jesuit in Aurora, Colorado, had 23 points and 23 rebounds in the game the team won 90-14.
KOBE: Former Lakers star Kobe Bryant was at the Oregon-Southern Cal women’s basketball game on Friday night. He brought his oldest daughter Gianna to the game and sat across from the Ducks bench. Bryant came into the locker room after the game and talked to the team.
“I was so star struck, I don’t remember,” a flustered Ruthy Hebard said Sunday after Oregon routed UCLA 72-52 for its eighth straight victory. “We were all crazy.”
Satou Sabally, an admitted Bryant fan, had a bit more clarity.
“It was one of the best days of my life,” she said, smiling. “He complimented my game.”
HALL OF FAME: Former Tennessee women’s athletic director Joan Cronan and four-time WNBA All-Star Ticha Penicheiro are among the 12 finalists for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame announced Thursday.
The Hall of Fame will release its official 2019 class on Feb. 4. The class will be inducted June 8. Finalists include: Cronan, Penicheiro, former Women’s Basketball Coaches Association CEO Beth Bass, former Delta State guard Debbie Brock, inaugural NCAA Division I women’s basketball committee chair Nora Lynn Finch, former coach Lucille Kyvallos, former Notre Dame and WNBA center Ruth Riley, former Wayland Baptist Flying Queens star Carolyn Busch Roddy, former Western Kentucky coach Paul Sanderford, former high school and Division II college coach Bob Schneider, former Kentucky star Valerie Still and former longtime Stanford assistant coach Amy Tucker.
1 VS. 2: Top-ranked Notre Dame beat No. 2 Louisville on Thursday, marking the 59th time that the AP’s top two teams met. The No. 1 teams hold a 37-22 advantage. It also marked the first time that UConn wasn’t involved in the game since 2012, and the first time it was a conference matchup since Feb. 8, 2007, when No. 1 Duke beat second-ranked North Carolina.
HOLD THAT TIGER!: It was a great week for the Clemson women’s basketball program. The Tigers beat an AP Top 25 team for the first time since 2012, topping No. 22 Florida State on Sunday. It ended an 18-game losing streak to the Seminoles. Clemson also won at Miami on Thursday, marking the first time the team had beaten the Hurricanes on the road since 2009. The Tigers are off to the best start in conference play since the 1997-98 season, when they opened ACC play 4-0.
STAT STUFFER: Tiana Mangakahia had her first career triple-double in Syracuse’s 90-77 win over North Carolina on Sunday. She had 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and just two turnovers in 36 minutes. It was the first points-rebounds-assists triple-double in program history. Mangakahia missed getting one last season against Miami, falling a rebound short. It was the first triple-double at the school since Cornelia Fondren had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals against Howard on Dec. 30, 2015.
TIP-INS: With her 11 assists at Georgia Tech, redshirt freshman Mikayla Boykin tied a Duke freshman record. It was the most assists by a Blue Devil rookie since Feb. 2, 1980, when Patti Thomasson also had 11 against Appalachian State. A Duke rookie has dished 10 or more assists a total of seven times in school history. Other rookies to accomplish the feat were Thomasson, Alexis Jones, Abby Waner, Wanisha Smith and Krista Gingrich. The 11 assists are the most by an ACC freshman this season. ... Towson is 4-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association for the first time since the 2007-08 season. The Tigers are tied atop the standings with James Madison, which is 4-0 for the second consecutive year. ... Boston College won two straight ACC road games (at Pitt and Wake Forest) for the first time since 2014-15. The Eagles are 13-4, the team’s most wins since 2015-16, when they won 15 games. ... Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu became the school’s career assist leader in the win over USC. She passed Lauri Landerholm when she got her 609th career assist Friday. ... UNLV’s Nikki Wheatley scored 28 points versus New Mexico to lead the Rebels to victory this past week. The win snapped a Lobo 11-game winning streak, while jumping her two spots into 20th place in career scoring at UNLV with 1,148 points, passing Jamie Smith (1,122) and Merlelynn Lange (1,129).
PUTTING UP POINTS: Arizona redshirt sophomore guard Aari McDonald became the first Pac-12 player since Kelsey Plum to score at least 30 points in three straight games after scoring 36 in a win over No. 24 Cal on Friday. Her streak ended on Sunday against No. 6 Stanford, but she’s the first player in Arizona history to score at least 15 points in the first 16 games of the season. Entering Sunday, McDonald was the leading scorer in the nation.
WHAT AN ARM!: North Texas strength and conditioning coach Rick Lefebvre hit a full court shot last week. The school’s twitter posted video of the amazing shot .
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AP Sports Writer Beth Harris contributed to this story.
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