No. 1 Connecticut 97, No. 17 Kansas 87
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ No. 1 Connecticut remained the nation’s only unbeaten women’s team, getting 25 points from Rebecca Lobo and six key points down the stretch from Kara Wolters to beat No. 17 Kansas 97-87 Saturday.
The Huskies (17-0) used their strong inside play to open a 12-point halftime lead, then stopped a late rally by Kansas (14-5) in the opener of a nationally televised doubleheader. The Connecticut and Kansas men’s teams met in the second game.
Down 83-70 with less than five minutes left, Kansas stormed back behind Tamecka Dixon, who scored 21 of her 30 points in the second half. Dixon hit two free throws and scored on a drive to start the comeback, then made a scoop shot on another drive to cut the lead to 86-82 with 2:25 let.
Angie Halbleid’s two free throws countered a basket inside by Wolters, leaving the Jayhawks trailing 88-84 with 1:51 to play. But they got no closer.
Jennifer Rizzoti made a free throw and after Angela Aycock, who had 29 points and 14 rebounds for Kansas, misfired on a forced jumper, Connecticut pulled away.
Carla Berube and Wolters each made two free throws, and the 6-foot-7 Wolters scored off an offensive rebound. That made it 95-84 with 42.8 seconds left, and the Huskies were out of danger.
Rizzoti and Nykesha Sales each scored 21 points for Connecticut and Jamelle Elliott added 10. Wolters finished with eight.
Charisse Sampson had 19 points for Kansas, which got behind in the first half because it couldn’t rebound with the taller Huskies. Connecticut had a 12-1 advantage on offensive rebounds in the first half, producing a 15-2 edge in second-chance points.
Lobo and Elliott each grabbed 12 rebounds as Connecticut finished with a 52-43 edge on the boards.
Kansas used its outside shooting to stay with Connecticut early. Aycock hit two 3-pointers and Sampson hit one as Kansas took a 14-9 lead 6 minutes into the game. It was tied at 24 after Dixon of Kansas hit a jumper with 9:25 left in the half.
Connecticut then turned up its defense and took control. Lobo tipped in a missed shot and made a 17-footer to start an 11-2 run that gave the Huskies a 35-26 lead. Kansas missed seven of eight shots during that stretch and Connecticut got the rebound after every miss.
Kansas drew to 37-32 on Dixon’s 3-pointer at the 3:01 mark, only to see Connecticut finish the half with a 10-3 run for a 47-35 lead. Sales and Pam Webber each hit a 3-pointer to finish that burst.
Kansas got to within five points early in the second half and trailed 76-70 after Aycock’s 3-pointer with 6:58 to play. But Connecticut answered with a 7-0 run that Sales capped with a 3-pointer to make it 83-70.