UConn beats Tennessee 60-45 in first meeting in 13 years

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Tennessee's Lou Brown, left, and Connecticut's Aubrey Griffin fight for possession of the ball in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

HARTFORD, Conn. – The latest chapter in the UConn-Tennessee rivalry was different for Geno Auriemma. Pat Summitt was no longer on the sideline for the Lady Vols.

“It wasn't the same. I miss having her there," an emotional Auriemma said after UConn's 60-45 victory Thursday night. “I miss looking forward to having her there."

Crystal Dangerfield scored 14 points and No. 3 UConn used a dominant third quarter to beat 23rd-ranked Tennessee in the first matchup in 13 years between the teams whose rivalry dominated the sport for over a decade.

Trailing by three at the half, the Huskies (17-1) scored 17 of the first 19 points in the third quarter, taking a 45-33 lead on Dangerfield's 3-pointer with 1:45 left in the period. UConn led by 11 after three and Tennessee could get no closer in the fourth quarter.

“I felt like they came out with a different intensity defensively in the second half," Tennessee coach Kellie Harper said. “The game plan might have changed a little bit. ... We lost our composure in the third quarter.”

Rennia Davis scored 16 points to lead the Lady Vols (15-4). They had only 14 points in the second half — the lowest total in program history.

“It was great to play in this environment with the history between both programs," Davis said.

Thursday night provided a little bit of nostalgia for those who remembered how these two teams carried women's basketball for over a decade since their first historic meeting in 1995 that was a 1 vs 2 showdown. They played 22 times over a 12-year span, with each one being a circle-the-calendar game whether it was in Tennessee, Connecticut or the NCAA Tournament.