Huskies Humbled by Top-Ranked Connecticut
November 28, 1998
STORRS, Conn. (AP) - Shea Ralph says she's is loving life right now.
Sidelined last season with a knee injury, the 6-foot guard has come off the bench in two straight games to fire up her team with career performances.
She scored 30 points Saturday to lead the top-ranked Huskies to a 101-81 win over Washington. She topped her previous scoring high of 28 set two weeks ago against UCLA.
"I'm having the most fun I've had in my entire life," Ralph said. "I try to make the most of every day because I know at any minute your fire can get snuffed out for another year."
A scar on her right knee bears testament to the fates that can befall an athlete. She tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during the first round of the NCAA tournament her freshman year. A comeback the next season ended when she re-tore it during preseason workouts.
Her return to the game is helping fuel an explosive UConn team averaging 102.5 points a game. She scored her 30 points in 26 minutes that also included four steals and three assists.
With UConn trailing early in the game, Ralph came off the bench and provided a spark with tenacious defense and driving layups. She scored 13 points, including the last eight of the half, to give the Huskies a 47-41 lead at the break.
"Shea's a very confident player and when she's out on the floor good things happen because she makes them happen," said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. "Players kind of feed off that."
UConn (4-0) opened the second half with a 15-5 run. Svetlana Abrosimova, scored nine of her 23 points during that stretch to help UConn pull away.
"The game got away from us," said Washington coach June Daugherty. "We tried to make adjustments...but we got buried."
Washington (2-2) raced to an 11-3 lead before UConn started its comeback. The visitors were 15-for-31 from the field and made five 3-pointers in the first half.
Jamie Redd led Washington with 25 points, and Megan Franza added 22.
Tamika Williams added 18 points for UConn.
UConn scored 68 points in the paint and attempted only five 3-pointers.
By DONNA TOMMELLEO