HARTFORD, Conn. — Katie Lou Samuelson scored 18 points, Azura Stevens added 17 and top-ranked UConn rallied from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat No. 3 Notre Dame 80-71 on Sunday in the Jimmy V Classic.
The Huskies (7-0) trailed 65-54 early in the fourth quarter before scoring 21 of the next 26 points, much to the delight of the sellout crowd of 15,558 fans that took in the latest game between the former Big East rivals.
Stevens had 10 points during the game-changing run. Her layup gave the Huskies a 69-68 lead — their first since the second quarter.
Kia Nurse had seven points during the burst, including hitting her 13th consecutive 3-pointer over the past three games.
Her layup with 3:51 left gave UConn a 71-70 advantage after Arike Ogunbowale had briefly given the Irish (7-1) a 70-69 advantage. Nurse then had another layup off a tip from Stevens and the Irish couldn’t recover.
Ogunbowale’s hoop was the lone points for the Irish until she hit one free throw with 16 seconds remaining that made it 77-71. The Irish only had one basket in the final 7:48 of the game.
The Huskies made the run without two of their three preseason All-Americans. Gabby Williams didn’t play in the second half. She had been battling migraines this week.
Samuelson returned to the lineup after missing four games with a mid-sprain in her left foot. She left early in the fourth quarter limping back to the locker room. She did return to the bench during a timeout and played for about a second in a foul shooting substitution.
The win extended UConn’s home winning streak to 69 games — tied for third longest in NCAA history.
Marina Mabrey scored 21 points and Ogunbowale added 19 for the Irish.
Trailing 28-21 in the second quarter, the Irish scored 13 straight points and 20 of the next 22 to take a 42-30 advantage and stun the Huskies.
Ogunbowale scored the first seven points during the burst. The Irish led 43-36 at the half.