The University of Cincinnati women’s basketball team saw its five-game win streak and nine-game home win streak snapped Saturday afternoon at Fifth Third Arena in a 65-55 loss to the No. 2-ranked University of Connecticut Huskies.
UC fell to 14-8, 6-2 American Athletic Conference, while UConn improved to 19-2, 8-0 AAC.
Despite the loss, the second meeting of the season between the two schools was more competitive than the first, as UConn dominated UC 82-38 at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut, Jan. 9. The Bearcats turned the ball over 20 times Jan. 9, versus 13 on Saturday.
Senior guard Nikira Goings, who sprained an ankle during the first UConn loss, led UC with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooing, including 4-of-10 on three-point attempts.
“When we played them at UConn, we knew we didn’t give them everything that we had,” Goings said. “We made a lot of mistakes and didn’t follow our game plan. The goal today was to follow a game plan and see what could happen. We were in the game all game, and they never got away from us. We were able to stick with them, but we just made too many mistakes down the stretch.”
Junior guard Antoinette Miller backed Goings up with 13 rebounds, five rebounds and five assists.
The Bearcats were hindered by being outscored 24-12 in the opening quarter and trailed 38-23 at halftime. However, UC outscored UConn 32-27 in the second-half.
“I thought the most important thing was focusing on our defense and translating it into offense,” first-year UC head coach Michelle Clark-Heard said. “We’re growing every day, and we’re a work in progress. I’m really proud of where this group has come and where we’re going. We’re excited to be where we’re at right now … We made some great adjustments and did some good things in the second half.”
UConn forward Napheesa Collier tallied a game-high 20 points and 11 rebounds in 40 minutes. She became only the fifth Husky in school history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds in a career.
Fellow forward Megan Walker added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Clark-Heard had a message for the largest crowd to view a women’s basketball game at Fifth Third Arena this season.
“Thank you to everyone who came out today,” Clark-Heard said. “I hope you all see that there is something special going on here. We need you all to come back and support this group, not just when we play UConn, but when we play everybody else. We’re coming. Get ready, because we’re coming.”
The Bearcats are back in action Feb. 10, against the Wichita State University Shockers at Fifth Third Arena. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m., and ESPNU will televise the game.