STORRS, Conn. (AP) — With the shot clock about to expire and her team ahead by a single point in overtime, Paige Bueckers threw up a long 3-pointer that hit the back of the rim and bounced high into the air.
There was no doubt in Bueckers’ mind that the ball would come down through the net.
UConn’s freshman star scored 31 points, including her team’s final 13, to lead the No. 2 Huskies to a 63-59 overtime victory Monday over top-ranked South Carolina.
Bueckers scored all of the Huskies’ nine points in overtime, including that improbable 3-pointer with just over 10 seconds left. There were 13 seconds on the clock when it left her hand.
Henderson missed a fall-away jumper with 4 seconds left and the Gamecocks missed three chances to tip-in a game winner.
The loss ended a 12-game winning streak for South Carolina.
“We’ll learn from it,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. “I told our players that everything we want is still in front of us.”
This was the first overtime win for the Huskies since December of 2004, when they needed extra time to beat South Florida. They had lost seven straight overtime games since then.
UConn missed its first five shots, made three of its first 20 and still trailed just 14-10 after a quarter. The Huskies shot just under 40% for the game, but held South Carolina to 37%. UConn scored 19 points off of 21 South Carolina turnovers.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks have faced eight ranked opponents this season, with their only other loss coming on Dec. 3 against North Carolina State. The program lost the first eight meetings with the Huskies before blowing out UConn last year, 70-52,at home.
UConn: Bueckers has 142 points over her last five games and 93 over her last three, scoring 30 or better in each of those.
“It’s been a long time since one player has had to carry a team as much as she’s had to in some of these games,” Auriemma said.
Staley, who took her first head coaching job at Temple, honored the late Owls men’s coach John Chaney by dressing in a sweater and loose tie, the signature look of her former mentor. Chaney died on Jan. 29 at 89. A memorial service for him was held Monday in Philadelphia.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks, who have played four road games in their last five, host Missouri on Thursday night.
UConn: The Huskies host Seton Hall on Wednesday night.