No. 4 UConn breaks loose late in 1st half, beats UCF 59-52

  • Connecticut forward Olivia Nelson-Ododa (20) grabs a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Central Florida in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.) Willie J. Allen Jr.

Associated Press
Published: 1/16/2020 9:10:19 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. — Megan Walker scored 19 points and Crystal Dangerfield sparked a big first-half rally, leading No. 4 Connecticut to a 59-52 win over Central Florida on Thursday night.

It was only the second single-digit win for the Huskies (15-1, 6-0 American Athletic Conference) since joining the AAC for the 2013-14 season. UConn is 126-0 in conference games, including tournaments, since leaving the Big East.

Dangerfield finished with 13 points, five assists and three steals, and Olivia Nelson-Odala had nine points and 12 rebounds.

Kay Kay Wright, who paced UCF with 18 points, led a second-half rally that got the Golden Knights back in the game.

UCF’S zone gave UConn problems early in the game and caused two shot-clock violations late in the first quarter. UConn shot 35% in the first half and 38.5% for the game.

But Dangerfield’s two free throws with 7:24 left in the second quarter started a 16-0 run to finish the half.

Three free throws by Brittney Smith and Massey Kaba lifted UCF (9-6, 1-2) to a 16-13 lead early in the second quarter, but the Knights did not score again until Diamond Battles converted a turnover into a layup with 8:24 left in the third quarter.

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