UConn wins early season showdown with Notre Dame
By DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — It’s only December, but UConn showed it’s the best team in the country with an early-season win over Notre Dame.
The Huskies topped the Irish 89-71 on Sunday in the women’s Jimmy V Classic behind a stellar effort by freshman Christyn Williams, who had 28 points — six points off the school record for a freshman held by Tina Charles.
“We found a way to answer everything,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “There wasn’t anything that went down that we didn’t have an answer for. There were a couple times where we looked a little bit disheveled out there, but I thought for the most part we knew we were going to get our buckets and people took turns. Everybody made a play here and there, and that’s what we are. I don’t think we’re a team of superstars. We don’t have that Maya Moore, (Breanna Stewart, Diana (Taurasi) type player on our team, so we’ve got a really, really good team that relies on each other and they learned a lot about themselves today.”
While the Huskies found out a lot about themselves on Sunday, Notre Dame was left with questions.
“I thought a lot of the problems we’ve been having all year long really surfaced again,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “This time, the team we played was good enough to take advantage of it. Our transition defense was poor. Our half-court defense was poor. Offensively, I thought our execution was poor. And then we lost our poise. That was unexpected. I was really disappointed to see the veterans we have not rise to the occasion.”
Here are other things that happened in women’s college basketball this past week:
STELLAR SHOOTING: Iowa center Megan Gustafson had a run of 16 consecutive made field goals snapped in Thursday’s loss to Notre Dame. The Hawkeyes’ star made her final two shots against West Virginia, all eight against Florida State and then hit her first six against Notre Dame before finally missing one against the top-ranked Irish. That stretch wasn’t even her longest run of the season as Gustafson earlier hit 17 consecutive shots. She made her last shot in the season opening win over Oral Roberts and then went 13 for 13 against Western Kentucky. She capped the streak by making her first three shots against N.C. Central before missing one.
SIDELINED COACH: DePaul coach Doug Bruno will undergo spinal fusion surgery on Dec. 11 to fix what has become a debilitating back problem that makes it difficult for him to walk. Bruno said he hopes to be back by the end of the month.
“I told the doctors I wanted to coach these 10 games originally and then take care of it on the 11th,” Bruno said in a phone interview Sunday night. “I know we have an 18-day stretch where we only have two games before the Big East opener and I hope I can be back for that.”
Bruno originally thought the pain he was suffering in his legs was a side effect of the medicine he was taking after having pneumonia this fall. Finally, the team doctor had him get checked out and the spinal issues were discovered.
TIP-INS: Seton Hall senior Nicole Jiminez scored a career-best 33 points, hitting a school-record nine 3-pointers, in the Pirates’ 90-47 win over St. Peter’s on Sunday. She also had nine steals — one short of team record.
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