Junior Diana Taurasi wasn't about to let Connecticut's winning streak end against the Huskies' arch rival.
Taurasi hit the tying shot in regulation and scored four of her 25 points in overtime -- including the go-ahead basket with 31 seconds left -- to lead No. 3 Connecticut past No. 5 Tennessee, 63-62, yesterday in Hartford, Conn., for the Huskies' 51st straight victory.
"This one feels really good, knowing that we had every chance to lose the ballgame," Taurasi said.
Taurasi, the only returning starter from last season's national championship team, made a three-pointer with 7.5 seconds left to send it to the extra period tied at 56. The all-American also made a three-pointer from about 60 feet as time expired in the first half to put U-Conn. ahead, 29-26.
"It was just luck," she said of that shot. "There is no other way to put it."
The Huskies (12-0) have the second-longest winning streak in NCAA history, behind Louisiana Tech's 54 straight from 1980 to '82.
U-Conn. leads the series against Tennessee 10-6, and yesterday marked only the third time in the rivalry's history that one of the schools wasn't ranked No. 1.
"When you have a Diana Taurasi, you're never out of it," Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt said. "We just can't make the offensive plays they can. She hits the shot at the end of the first half, the shot to send it into overtime. . . . She just makes big shots."
* PURDUE 71, NOTRE DAME 54: Shereka Wright scored 18 points, and the seventh-ranked Boilermakers used a 15-0 run to break open a close road game against the No. 13 Fighting Irish.
Purdue was shooting 21 percent (7 of 33) when Erika Valek made a 15-foot shot to end the Boilermakers' drought of 7:15 without a basket. The shot cut Notre Dame's lead to 22-20 and sparked the 15-0 run that continued into the second half.
The Boilermakers (11-1) extended their lead to 63-39 when Mary Jo Noon made a pair of free throws with 5:57 left.
"We didn't compete," Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw said.
Courtney LaVere had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots to lead Notre Dame (8-3). Jacqueline Batteast added 14 points, and Le'Tania Severe had 10 points and six assists. Alicia Ratay, Notre Dame's only starter left from the Irish team that beat Purdue for the national title two years ago, was held scoreless, managing only two shots. She averages 11.4 points a game.
* LOUISIANA STATE 80, PENN STATE 63: Aiysha Smith scored 22 points, and the No. 2 Lady Tigers stayed unbeaten with a victory over the visiting No. 15 Lady Lions.
Ashli Schwab had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Lady Lions (10-3), and Tanisha Wright added 18 points. Kelly Mazzante, the nation's third-leading scorer at 27.2 points per game, was held to 13.
The Lady Tigers are two wins from tying the best start in school history, which was 14-0 in the 1996-97 season.
"Knowing the shooters this club has and what a big defensive team they are, I thought this game was about defense, and it probably was our best effort," said LSU Coach Sue Gunter, who is three victories shy of 400 at the school.
* VANDERBILT 86, HOLY CROSS 54: Chantelle Anderson scored 20 points to lead six players in double figures for the No. 12 Commodores at home.
Vanderbilt (9-3) went on a 14-0 first-half run to go ahead 26-7. A three-pointer by Ashley McElhiney just before halftime gave the Commodores a 47-22 lead.
Katie O'Keefe scored 10 points to lead Holy Cross (6-5).
McElhiney, who had a school-record 17 assists in Thursday night's 92-82 loss to Louisville, had 12 points and 10 assists.
* LOUISIANA TECH 66, SOUTHERN METHODIST 64: Trina Frierson scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and the No. 14 Lady Techsters hit six free throws in the closing seconds to hang on at home.
SMU's Shanta Ramdhanny was fouled taking a three-point shot with 1:32 remaining. She made all three free throws to cut the deficit to 66-64, but the Mustangs missed their next three shots.
* SOUTH CAROLINA 101, STETSON 39: Jocelyn Penn scored a school-record 51 points to lead the No. 16 Gamecocks at home.
Penn's free throw with four-tenths of a second left broke the mark set by Shannon Johnson in 1996. Penn matched the record with 50 points in a 99-46 victory over Wofford on Dec. 4.
* ARIZONA 72, OREGON STATE 44: Shawntinice Polk had 18 points and 11 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season, leading the No. 20 Wildcats in Tucson.
Arizona (9-3, 3-1 Pacific-10) led 31-15 at halftime and put the game away with a 16-2 run to start the second half. The Wildcats outshot Oregon State 54 percent to 31 percent.
* BOSTON COLLEGE 85, PROVIDENCE 63: Jessalyn Deveny scored a career-high 36, falling three short of the school record for points, to lead the 23rd-ranked Eagles on the road.
Deveny shot 5 for 7 from three-point range and 14 for 20 overall. Sarah Behn holds the school mark with 39 points, set on Jan. 13, 1993, against Georgetown.
* VILLANOVA 77, ST. JOHN'S 53: Kelly Nash scored 19 points, and Nicole Druckenmiller added a career-high 17 for the No. 24 Wildcats at home.
The Wildcats (10-1, 1-0 Big East) are off to their best start since going 13-1 to open the 1981-82 season.
* WISCONSIN-GREEN BAY 86, DETROIT 53: Sara Boyer broke the school career three-point record, and Tiffany Mor had a career-high 18 points for the No. 21 Phoenix at home.