Duke went to Connecticut trying to make a statement, and instead ended up living a nightmare.
There are no unbeaten teams left in women's Division I basketball.
The win marked the first home-court victory for anyone in the series, which Geno Auriemma’s Huskies lead 6-3.
Maya Moore had 29 points and Tiffany Hayes 20 for UConn (21-1), which has now won 73 straight home games.
Kelly Faris added 14 points and while Stefanie Dolson had 12 rebounds for the Huskies, who started with a 23-2 run and then led 41-15 at the break.
RBC CENTER, RALEIGH—A giant hand settled on my shoulder. "Sorry, I don't want to step on you."
Chara, Ovechkin, and over 40 of hockey's other brightest luminaries had just played the All-Star Game in Raleigh's RBC Center, in which Team Lidstrom held off Team Staal 11-10, but the game didn't really matter. The game wasn't why the players were there. They were all there to celebrate hockey's—and each other's—greatness. They were there to give the three-day party that last surge of revelry before everyone heads home, back to playoff races, trading deadlines, and contract negotiations.
Soon enough, Ovechkin will try to fling a wrist shot in the net using Chara to screen his goalie. Soon enough, Chara will barrel shoulder-first into the boards, trying to embed Ovechkin in the plexiglass. The same Canes fans who almost brought the house down Saturday night when Chara won the hardest-shot competition will jeer him to a similar degree when his Bruins visit on Tuesday night.
It’s a pretty rare occurrence in college basketball when a defending NCAA champion plays the only remaining unbeaten Division I team this late in the season.
“Anything that brings women’s basketball attention is always great, but as a player it’s wanting the best for my team and wanting my team to get better,” said Duke senior guard Jasmine Thomas, the only member of the balanced Blue Devils with a double-figure scoring average. “We’re just going into it like another game because that’s what it is for us. They’re a great team, just like we’ve played other great teams and we’re excited about the challenge.
“We can get our turnovers down and that’s something that’s going to be big. UConn has been a program that has made people pay from their mistakes. Playing more together and getting our assists and turnovers down, that will help us. The Stanford game was uncharacteristic of them. They’ll be ready to play at home and they’ll be just as excited as we are.”
Connecticut, which walloped Duke 81-48 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the middle of its record 90-game winning streak, leads the series 5-3. But oddly enough neither team has ever won a game in the series on its home court, and the higher-ranked team has won only four of the eight meetings.
Italee Lucas’ 19 points led four players in double figures as No. 15 UNC clobbered visiting Virginia Tech 76-51.
The Tar Heels played again without Jessica Breland, who has missed three straight following arthroscopic knee surgery. Chay Shegog was back in the lineup after missing one game with a concussion.
REYNOLDS COLISEUM/RALEIGH There’s a very big crowd in the house and plenty of emotion today, as N.C. State hosts its annual “Hoops 4 Hope” game promoting breast cancer awareness and raising money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
Kellie Harper’s club has lost four straight games — although without a “bad loss” in the bunch — and is two games below .500 with 10 certain games remaining.
The Wolfpack leads the series 24-10, but lost 74-71 in Tallahassee last season.
NCSU is 4-1 all-time in the Hoops 4 Hope game.
The Wolfpack is in its traditional pink uniforms for the event while both teams are in metallic pink shoes. Both teams wore T-shirts bearing the word “Love” in pregame warmups, the Wolfpack in white and the Seminoles in black. And a noisy crowd of 6,127 is in the house.
FSU takes a big lead early, then dominates the final three minutes following a Wolfpack comeback and escapes 76-69.
RBC CENTER, RALEIGH—If you ever see Zdeno Chara bearing down on you, duck behind something immediately. Like a sofa. Or a continent.
Rookie New York Islander forward Michael Grabner won fastest skater and Capitals sniper Alexander Ovechkin inspired enough fan votes via text message to win the breakaway challenge. Vancouver's Daniel Sedin dropped jaws and received a standing ovation for his display in the accuracy contest, hitting eight targets in just nine shots. Anaheim Duck Corey Perry took the final event of the night, besting Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis in the final round of the elimination shootout.
Fans madly applauded the four Carolina Hurricanes in the skills display. Goaltender Cam Ward—in full pads, mask, glove and waffleboard—beat Bruins netminder Tim Thomas in his head-to-head heat in the fastest-skater contest, as Thomas tumbled behind one of the goals. Eric Staal victimized Thomas later in the shootout, flicking a quick forehand shot beneath his pads before he could get down in his butterfly stance, but Staal was eliminated later by Anaheim's Jonas Hiller, perhaps a small measure of revenge for Staal's hat trick against him here before Christmas.
N.C. State will play a women’s basketball contest that is always very special to the program today at 1 p.m., when
The day is dedicated to breast cancer awareness with proceeds going to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. As always for breast cancer awareness contests, fans are encouraged to wear pink.
It’s the sixth edition of the annual event, in which the Wolfpack is currently 4-1.
The other ACC women’s game in the Triangle will be at 2 p.m. in Chapel Hill, where No. 15 UNC will be a very solid favorite against last-place Virginia Tech.
NCSU leads the series with Florida State 24-10, but fell 74-71 on the road last season. The Wolfpack has lost four straight games, three of them to ranked opponents.
UNC leads its series with the Hokies 12-3, but should be out for revenge after suffering a shocking 79-64 loss in Blacksburg last season.
Barnes scored nine of his career-high 25 points in the opening three minutes, drilling a three, scoring in transition and working hard on the offensive glass. He finished shooting 10-for-16 from the field, adding six rebounds and an assist with only one turnover.
The smiling aspect of Barnes’ performance is significant. Throughout the much-publicized disappointment that has defined his season — after becoming the first freshman to get tabbed as a preseason first-team All-American — his body language at times has been poor. He also has struggled on defense, in part due to unfocused effort.
His turnaround could be a simple matter of experience, but here’s my working theory: Barnes has begun to receive positive publicity as a clutch scorer; his jump shot at Miami was only the latest example of his late-game success. Now that he’s developing a reputation for something other than being an underachiever, he appears more comfortable and relaxed on the court.
Meanwhile, go-go gadget John Henson also was stellar. He scored 16 points and, even more impressive, racked up 16 rebounds, seven blocks and three assists. His ability to disrupt the opponent’s interior offense plays an invaluable role in UNC’s identity as a solid defensive team. Fans frequently raise their eyebrows whenever the possibility is broached that Henson could depart after this season for the NBA, but games like this one prove why the topic holds validity.
RALEIGH CONVENTION CENTER—Wardo is numero uno.
Other notable moments included twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin, teammates in Vancouver, being split up with consecutive choices in the third round; Steven Stamkos being drafted number one by Nicklas Lidstrom's team over Alexander Ovechkin (who Staal nabbed immediately); Chicago's Patrick Kane, as Team Lidstrom's alternate captain, snubbing linemate Jonathan Toews for several rounds; and Lidstrom's selection of Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, whose last-second save against him in the seventh game of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals preserved Pittsburgh's win; and, of course the unpleasant last-guy-picked laurel being placed on Maple Leaf Phil Kessel's head. Full results are at the end of this post.
CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC looks to get its season back onto a solid winning track as long-time rival Virginia visits for a televised ACC game.
The one oddity on the slate is how the teams performed against Maryland. UNC was on the wrong end of an 88-65 blowout on Sunday, while the Cavaliers fell to the visiting Terps 77-75 in overtime on Jan. 21.
There will be a special ceremony at halftime, with the No. 42 of former guard Nikki Teasley honored.
UNC is missing senior forward Jessica Breland, who had arthroscopic knee surgery a week ago, for the Maryland game, while center Chay Shegog also suffered a concussion in that one.
Both will be unavailable tonight, but the positions seem to be in capable hands with Waltiea Rolle at center and Laura Broomfield at forward. The question will be depth up front.
The Tar Heels start slowly but finish fast, rolling to a 64-52 win.