Dec 1, 2002
HONOLULU (AP) - There were a lot of different players on the court for Connecticut, but they produced a familiar result against Oklahoma.
In a rematch of last season's NCAA championship, No. 5 Connecticut beat No. 23 Oklahoma 73-60 Sunday in the finals of the Rainbow Wahine Classic.
Diana Taurasi, the only returning UConn starter from the championship squad, scored 30 points and passed the 1,000-point mark in the first half.
Oklahoma (5-2) lost all five of its starters from last season's squad, which fell to UConn 82-70 in the title game. Four graduated and the lone returnee, Caton Hill, tore her anterior cruciate ligament in last Tuesday's game against Sam Houston State.
In a game of two halves, UConn outscored the Sooners 17-1 to start the second half. The Sooners missed their first 11 field-goal attempts and committed six turnovers while Taurasi made four straight baskets.
"I thought we lost our juice," Sooners coach Sherri Coale said. "A lot of our shots were short. Maria (Villarroel) and Dionnah (Jackson) played 40 minutes yesterday and the first half was a very breakneck pace.
"We missed some shots and UConn made three or four big plays. Suddenly, it's a 12-point game. We just didn't have the energy to come back."
After an uptempo first half that led to a 44-42 UConn halftime lead, Taurasi said her team did well slowing the game down in the second half.
"In the first half, they got a lot of transition and were running the floor well," Taurasi said.
"A big part of it was not allowing them to run," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "We were able to take that away and forced them into a halfcourt game. Once we got them halfcourt, we got the advantage."
Ann Strother added 16 points for the Huskies.
Villarroel scored 27 points for Oklahoma, and Jackson had 13.
Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Tamika Williams, starters on UConn's championship squad, were on hand to see the victory.