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Jackets Knock Off No. 3/2 UConn

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech women’s basketball opened the fourth quarter with a 15-1 run to lift the Yellow Jackets to one of the biggest wins in program history, a 57-44 win over No. 3/2 Connecticut on Thursday evening at a raucous McCamish Pavilion.

A crowd of 4,578, the second-largest for a women’s basketball game in McCamish Pavilion history, saw Georgia Tech (7-2) outscore UConn (5-2), 18-5, in the fourth quarter to snap the Huskies’ 240-game winning streak against unranked opponents.

Neither team led by more than four points through three quarters, and the game was tied at halftime (28-28) and after three periods (39-39), but Tech dominated the fourth quarter on both ends of the floor. The Yellow Jackets shot 42.9% (6-of-14) from the field and 60% (6-of-10) from the line in the final period, while holding UConn to just 16.7% (2-of-12) shooting.

Lotta-Maj Lahtinen scored a game-high 15 points in Thursday’s win over No. 3/2 UConn (photo: Danny Karnik).

 

The majority of the damage came in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, as the Jackets scored 10 of the first 11 points of the period to take a 49-40 lead with a little more than four minutes to go. Trailing by nine, UConn fouled four times on Tech’s next possession to put the Jackets into the bonus, hoping to take advantage of GT’s 65% free-throw percentage on the season.

Georgia Tech made just five of its next eight foul shots, but it didn’t matter, as it continued to play lock-down defense on the other end and extended its lead to 14 at 54-40 with 1:39 remaining.

The Huskies finally made their first field goal of the second half on a driving layup by Evina Westbrook with 1:21 left on the clock but a fast-break layup by Eylia Love coming out of UConn’s ensuing timeout stretched the Jackets’ advantage back to 14 at 56-42, effectively sealing the victory and sending the McCamish Pavilion crowd into a frenzy.

Lorela Cubaj pulled down 13 rebounds against the Huskies (photo: Danny Karnik).

 

In just her second game back from an injury, Georgia Tech’s Lotta-Maj Lahtinen led all scorers with 15 points, while Nerea Hermosa (who played the game’s full 40 minutes) and Eylia Love added 13 and 10, respectively, to round out three Yellow Jackets in double-figures. Lorela Cubaj pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds for the Jackets, who outscored the Huskies by a 10-2 margin in second-chance points.

Tech also forced 16 UConn turnovers – including six in the fourth quarter – and had a commanding 18-6 advantage in points off turnovers to earn its first win over a top-three team since it beat No. 2 North Carolina, 66-62, on Jan. 22, 2009 at GT’s former basketball home, Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

The Yellow Jackets’ win was their first in three all-time meetings with UConn.

Christyn Williams scored 13 points in 40 minutes to lead three Huskies in double-figures. UConn’s Olivia Nelson-Ododa registered a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The loss was UConn’s first to an unranked opponent since a 57-56 defeat to St. John’s on Feb. 18, 2012. It also marked the first time that the Huskies were held to under 45 points in a game since a 48-42 loss to Rutgers on Feb. 27, 2006.

Georgia Tech returns to action on Sunday when it hosts Furman at McCamish Pavilion. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.

Digna Strautmane (45) celebrates following Georgia Tech’s historic win over UConn (photo: Danny Karnik).

 

Forward Lorela Cubaj and guard Lotta-Maj Lahtinen meet with media postgame.

Head coach Nell Fortner meets with media postgame.

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma meets with media postgame.

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