No. 8 Baylor Snaps No. 1 UConn Women's 126-Game Regular-Season Win Streak

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2019

Connecticut guard/forward Megan Walker (3) defends Baylor center Kalani Brown (center) as Christyn Williams, right, looks on during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Ray Carlin)
Ray Carlin/Associated Press

The eighth-ranked Baylor Lady Bears upset the previously unbeaten No. 1 Connecticut Huskies 68-57 on Thursday night at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Kalani Brown led the way for Baylor, scoring 22 points and grabbing 17 boards. Juicy Landrum's three-point shooting was also key as the junior guard was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc en route to an 11-point night.

UConn hadn't lost a regular-season game since Nov. 17, 2014, when it fell to Stanford in overtime.

Defense has been Baylor's calling card all season. Entering Thursday, the Lady Bears were 20th in points allowed (54.9) and first in opponent field-goal percentage (29.5). 

Because of the 6'7" Brown, Baylor presented UConn with a difficult matchup inside as well. True freshman Olivia Nelson-Ododa is the only player taller than 6'3" on the Huskies.

The final numbers tell the story of the game.

The Lady Bears held UConn to 29.4 percent shooting. The Huskies also shot just 4-of-20 in the fourth quarter, missing 11 of their 13 three-point attempts.

On offense, Baylor relied heavily on its inside game and getting to the basket. The Lady Bears had a 52-10 advantage in paint scoring. The Huskies had no answer for Brown, who shot 10-of-16.

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Baylor hasn't reached the Final Four since 2012, falling in the Elite Eight on four occasions. Lady Bears fans know they can't take anything for granted in March, but this squad clearly has the pieces on its best night to advance to the national semifinals.

Kim Mulkey's team showed its mettle by fending off UConn's comeback attempts in the second half. 

Back-to-back three-pointers from Christyn Williams trimmed the Lady Bears' lead to four points, 51-47, heading into the fourth quarter, and then, Crystal Dangerfield brought the Huskies to within six points, 61-55, with three minutes, 31 seconds left in the game. On both occasions, Baylor didn't panic and widened the gap on UConn.

Although losing one game isn't a reason for panic in Storrs, this game illustrated two clear issues for the Huskies.

They're going to have a hard time against teams with dominant post players, and a matchup with Baylor or Mississippi State and Teaira McCowan is entirely plausible in the NCAA tournament.

UConn's bench didn't show up either. Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier combined for 28 points, which might have been enough on a different night. Instead, the trio of Nelson-Ododa, Mikayla Coombs and Batouly Camara combined for zero points off the bench. As good as the Huskies' starting five is, their lack of depth could be their undoing.