SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A month into the season, Connecticut doesn't look quite as vulnerable as many people thought. Not after beating No. 2 Notre Dame. Not after winning its 83rd straight game.
Two days after narrowly earning the top ranking in the AP poll, the Huskies easily secured that title on the court with a comfortable 72-61 victory over the Fighting Irish on Wednesday night, their third straight over a ranked team.
Coach Geno Auriemma said the Huskies (8-0) wouldn't know their streak had stretched to more than two years if not for the media.
"I would think if this was the first time our program had ever been here, we'd be acting a little bit different. You don't want to sound like you don't appreciate it — but we did win 90 in a row," Auriemma said.
Napheesa Collier scored 14 of her 20 in the second half after playing just nine minutes in the first because of foul trouble. Gabby Williams had 19 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, and Katie Lou Samuelson added 18 points to pace the Huskies.
The Huskies trailed for about two minutes late in the first half but mostly played with the lead as they controlled the inside, outscoring the Irish 42-30 in the paint and outrebounding them 35-32.
"I was really disappointed in everything, execution, the inability to get the ball to (Brianna Turner). Completely ineffective offensively," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.
Turner led the Irish (8-1) with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
After Notre Dame tied it at 42 with just less than two minutes left in the third quarter, the Huskies forced two turnovers leading to layups by Samuelson and Williams. Collier added two free throws to give Connecticut a 50-43 lead at the end of the quarter.
NO. 6 KENTUCKY 87, VALPARAISO 63: Bam Adebayo scored 16, Malik Monk added 15 and the host Wildcats (8-1) scored 21 straight in the first half to rebound from Saturday's loss to UCLA.
NO. 10 CREIGHTON 77, NEBRASKA 62: Maurice Watson Jr. scored a season-high 25, Cole Huff added 13 and the visiting Bluejays (9-0) dominated the second half.
LATE TUESDAY: Amile Jefferson set career highs with 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead No. 5 Duke (9-1) to an 84-74 victory over No. 21 Florida (7-2) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.
FOOTBALL: Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, who gained more than 6,000 yards the past two seasons, announced he will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. … LSU and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda wrapped up details of a new contract worth nearly $6 million over the next three seasons. … Alabama redshirt sophomore quarterback David Cornwell said he is transferring. … Michigan quarterback Shane Morris, a fourth-year junior, will seek a graduate transfer. … San Jose State hired Oregon State assistant Brent Brennan as its head coach.