STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Shenneika Smith’s 3-pointer from the wing with 8 seconds left lifted St. John’s to a 57-56 win over No. 2 Connecticut on Saturday night, snapping the Huskies’ 99-game home court winning streak.
It was also the Huskies’ first home loss to an unranked opponent in nearly 19 years.
Trailing by two with 16 seconds left, Nadirah McKenith drove the lane and kicked it out to Smith, who hit the 3 to give the Red Storm (18-8, 10-3 Big East) the lead.
UConn (24-3, 11-2) had one final chance, but Bria Hartley’s 3-point attempt from the corner was short, setting off a wild celebration at midcourt by the Red Storm.
McKenith and Da’Shena Stevens had 15 points each for St. John’s.
Kaleena Mosqueeda-Lewis scored 12 points to lead UConn.
The Huskies last lost at home on March 6, 2007, falling to Rutgers in the Big East championship game. The NCAA counts the Huskies’ postseason games in Hartford and Storrs as home games.
With the UConn men’s loss earlier in the day to No. 12 Marquette in Hartford, it marked the first time that both Huskies teams lost at home on the same day since Feb. 27, 1993.
UConn became the latest high-ranked team to lose to an unranked opponent. West Virginia shocked then-No. 2 Notre Dame last weekend and Alabama upset No. 7 Kentucky.
The Huskies, though, have always taken care of unranked teams, winning their last 261 straight at home and 171 overall against non-Top 25 opponents. Louisville was the last unranked team to knock off the Huskies at home in the NCAA tournament in 1993.
St. John’s had won seven of its last eight games, with the lone loss coming to Notre Dame.
The Huskies had shattered their own Division I record of 69 straight home wins they shared with Tennessee. UConn set the overall women’s record in November by beating Dayton and passing Division III Rust (Miss.) College, which won 88 straight at home from 1982-89. All but two of those wins during UConn’s streak have come by double digits and 35 of them by more than 40 points.
Stanford now has the longest active streak at 76 games, which includes last year’s win that snapped UConn’s record 90-game overall winning streak.
The home streak began in the first-round of the 2007 NCAAs with an 82-33 win over Maryland-Baltimore County in Storrs.
UConn almost extended it to 100 against the Red Storm when Stefanie Dolson hit a lay-in with 34 seconds left to give UConn a 56-54 advantage.
The game was a back-and-forth affair with neither team able to build more than a four-point lead in the second half. Trailing 34-32 at the break, UConn rallied to take a 42-39 lead with 14 minutes left. From there the two teams traded points over the next 13 minutes. Kia Stokes’ lay-in with 9:02 left made it 48-44 UConn. The Huskies didn’t hit another basket until Kelly Faris connected for a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down with 3:31 left. It gave UConn a 53-52 advantage.
But St. John’s wouldn’t quit. After Mary Nwachukwu hit a jumper to make it 54-53 St. John’s, Mosqueeda-Lewis hit a free throw with 1:07 left to tie the score and set up the exciting finish.
UConn built a quick 11-3 lead before St. John’s scored 12 straight points to take a 15-11 advantage midway through the first half. The Red Storm became just the second team to score 12 or more consecutive points against the Huskies in the last two seasons. Top-ranked Baylor has done it twice.
Connecticut rallied back behind Mosqueda-Lewis to take a 27-21 lead with 5 minutes left in the half.
St. John’s, however, wouldn’t go away. Stevens scored six points as the Red Storm closed the half on a 13-5 run. McKenith’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer gave them a 34-32 lead at the break.
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