WACO, Texas – Connecticut women’s coach Geno Auriemma was as eager as anyone to see how his top-ranked Huskies would handle a close game.
They responded in another streak-busting performance.
Breanna Stewart made a short baseline jumper with 10½ minutes left, starting a game-ending 16-6 run, and the Huskies went on to a 66-55 victory over No. 7 Baylor on Monday night — snapping the Bears’ home winning streak at 69 games, which was the longest active streak in the nation.
“There were certain possessions that we had to win those possessions, and we did,” Auriemma said.
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Stewart had 18 points and 11 rebounds in a matchup of the last two NCAA Division I champions.
Defending champ UConn (18-0) won its closest game this season, having beaten its first five ranked opponents by an average margin of 22 points, with the closest being 17 points.
“I think it builds our confidence a lot. It was a tough game, and we really had to grind it out at times, and you want to be able to respond well when things aren’t going your way, and we did that,” said Bria Hartley, who finished with 17 points as UConn won its 24th in a row.
Baylor (14-2) hadn’t lost at home since a 70-54 defeat to Texas in March 2010. Senior starters Odyssey Sims, the national scoring leader, and Makenzie Robertson, the daughter of Bears coach Kim Mulkey, had never lost a game at the Ferrell Center.
The Huskies have two of the five longest home winning streaks in women’s basketball, their record of 99 snapped two years ago and an earlier 69-game streak. They have ended the other three, previously halting Stanford’s 82-game streak last season and winning at Tennessee after the Vols had been the first team to win 69 straight at home 18 years ago.
Sims, who entered at 31.8 points per game, scored 20 on 4-of-25 shooting.
No. 15 Kansas men win at 8th-ranked Iowa State
AMES, Iowa – Naadir Tharpe scored a career-high 23 points, freshman Andrew Wiggins contributed 17 points and 19 rebounds and No. 15 Kansas beat eighth-ranked Iowa State 77-70 for its third straight victory to open Big 12 play.
The Jayhawks (12-4 overall, 3-0 Big 12) handed the Cyclones their second consecutive loss after a 14-0 start.
Kansas opened the second half with a 16-5 run and led the rest of the way.
DeAndre Kane, who sprained an ankle in a loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, had 21 points for Iowa State (14-2, 2-2), which lost for the 17th time in 18 games against Kansas.
The Cyclones, who entered as the Big 12’s top three-point shooting team, were 4 of 25 from beyond the arc.
Other Top 10 men
No. 2 Syracuse 69, at Boston College 59
Trevor Cooney scored 21 points, Jerami Grant added 16 and the Orange (17-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) beat the Eagles (5-12, 1-3).
Syracuse was down 51-46 midway through the second half before going on a 16-1 run.
At Oregon St. 84, Oregon 70
Center Ruth Hamblin’s triple-double helped the Beavers (10-6, 2-2 Pac-12) defeat the Ducks (9-6, 0-4)
Hamblin had 23 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks. She made 11 of 15 shots from the field.
Jillian Alleyne led Oregon with 18 points and 19 rebounds.
• Gonzaga’s 82-73 loss at Portland on Thursday was damaging in terms of polls. The Zags (14-3) dropped out of the Associated Press Top 25 men’s media poll after being 22nd last week. Gonzaga fell from 18th to 24th in the USA Today coaches poll.