Every time UConn women’s basketball loses, it ends up being a huge deal, because it usually means some absolutely ludicrous winning streak got snapped. That was the case on Thursday night, as the top-ranked Huskies marched into Waco and were taken down by eighth-ranked Baylor, 68-57.
It was quite the impressive performance from Kim Mulkey’s bunch, as Connecticut did not lead after going up 2-0 in the game’s opening moments. The Bears were paced by an immense performance out of Kalani Brown. The senior center terrorized Geno Auriemma’s bunch down low, going for 20 points on an efficient 10-for-16 shooting with 17 rebounds. Graduate transfer guard Chloe Jackson played a major role, too, stuffing the stat sheet with 13 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and four steals.
What might have been more remarkable, though, was the defensive effort out of Baylor on the evening. Coming into this game, UConn’s lowest scoring output came in a 72-point outing against Oklahoma last month. The Bears, however, completely locked down the Huskies, as UConn only shot 20-for-68 (29.4 percent) from the field. While Napheesa Collier (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Katie Lou Samuelson (12 points, 11 rebounds) posted double-doubles, it wasn’t enough to keep Connecticut from losing in regulation for the first time in 209 games.
After the game, Brown and her frontcourt partner, Lauren Cox (nine points, seven rebounds, five blocks, four assists) spoke to Holly Rowe of ESPN about the win, which served as the first time Baylor has ever knocked off the top team in the nation.
“I know this is a very special group,” Brown said. “We’re the underdogs, and we take pride in that. We’re very young and a lot of people didn’t think we could win, but we have a lot of heart. This team has a lot of heart. I’m proud of my team.”
It’s certainly a win worth being proud over, because while plenty of teams get the opportunity to end whatever lengthy winning streak UConn is usually riding on a given night, it takes a special one to get the job done.