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Taurasi scores 18 in UConn victory

No matter who's ranked No. 1, Diana Taurasi and Connecticut know how to top Tennessee.

The All-America guard scored 18 points to lead the No. 4 Huskies to an 81-67 victory last night at Knoxville, Tenn., their fifth straight win over the top-ranked Lady Vols.

Ann Strother added 17 points for Connecticut and Barbara Turner had 16 points and nine rebounds. Ashley Battle scored 11 points.

Connecticut (17-2) improved to 12-6 all-time against Tennessee (18-2) in a rivalry that began in 1995. The series has included three national championship games -- all won by the Huskies.

The Huskies made a compelling case to return to the top of the polls for the second time this season. Connecticut was No. 1 until Jan. 5, after losing at home to Duke two days before.

The Huskies ran out to a 21-13 lead midway through the first half and never let go of the lead.

North Carolina 72, Clemson 41 -- Ivory Latta scored 15 points in her first trip near her hometown, and the No. 12 Tar Heels (18-3, 8-2 ACC) beat the Lady Tigers (15-6, 5-5) at Clemson, S.C.

North Carolina hit 10 of its first 15 shots and held Clemson to 3-of-16 shooting in taking a 22-9 lead midway through the first half.

The Tar Heels led, 32-17, at halftime despite missing their last six shots, and still managed to shoot 45.2 percent (14 of 31) in the opening period. North Carolina finished the game at 49.1 percent (28 of 57).

Georgia 83, Vanderbilt 67 -- Sherill Baker scored 24 points, and the No. 16 Lady Bulldogs (16-5, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) had big runs late in the first half and early in the second at Nashville.

Georgia also got 20 points from Janese Hardrick. Carla Thomas had a career-high 24 points for the Commodores (16-5, 4-4).

Auburn 71, Kentucky 54 -- Nicole Louden scored 15 points to lead the No. 19 Tigers (17-5, 5-3 SEC) over Kentucky at Lexington. Le'Coe Willingham had 14 points and 13 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season for the Tigers. Natasha Brackett and Marita Payne added 10 apiece.

Michigan St. 72, Wisconsin 47 -- Kelli Roehrig had a season-high 19 points and the Big Ten's best defense did the rest in the 20th-ranked Spartans' (17-4, 7-3) victory at East Lansing, Mich.

Patrice McKinney had a career-high 11 points and Lindsay Bowen and Victoria Lucas-Perry added 10 apiece for the Spartans. Ashley Josephson had 17 points and Emily Ashbaugh 10 for the Badgers (8-12, 2-8), the 10th team to score fewer than 50 points this season against the Spartans.

WNEC 74, Southern Vermont 30 -- All 12 Golden Bears (12-7, 4-2 GNAC) got in the scoring column, led by Lisa Masella, who scored all her points in the first half, and Kerri Sullivan, each with 11 points, at Springfield.

Cassidy Wright scored 15 points and Amanda Morris 13 for the Mountaineers (1-15, 1-7) as the visitors were only able to muster a 21.6 percent shooting average from the field in the game.

Curry 67, Nichols 63 -- Leigh Johnston had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Erin Allen added 20 points to lead the Colonels (8-9, 8-3 CCC) at Milton.

Stacey Hejwosz led all scorers with 24 points for the Bison (8-11, 4-8 CCC) and teammate Kara Cicchiello had 14 rebounds.

Emmanuel 73, Johnson & Wales 48 -- Evita Esteves had a triple-double (10 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists) and Alyssa McCoy had 14 points to lead the Saints (15-4) at the Holmes Sports Center in Boston.

Katey Wentworth and Molly Forbes each chipped in with 10 points for Emmanuel. Karen Thureson was high scorer for the Wildcats (3-16) with 16 points.

U. of New England 77, Wentworth 58 -- Missy Stults led four Nor'easters (11-7, 9-2 CCC) in double figures with 27 points and 12 rebounds at Biddeford, Maine.

Melissa Roller had 14 points and Amanda Brown and Essie McKinnon 12 each for the winners. Heather Morgan paced the Leopards (6-11, 2-8 CCC) with 22 points.

Mount Ida 73, Becker 59 -- Melissa Simbilaris scored 18 points and Adrienne Xenos (14 points, 13 rebounds) and Danielle Ring (14 points, 11 rebounds) recorded double-doubles as the Mustangs (11-3) won at Newton.

Melissa Bergman topped all scorers with 21 points and Jocelyn McNair chipped in with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks (7-10).

Roger Williams 57, Regis 43 -- The Hawks (8-11, 5-7 CCC) dominated the backboards and Kristin Gaynor led all scorers with 16 points at Weston.


Northeastern 73, Stony Brook 61 -- Jose Juan Barea racked up 22 points as the Huskies (14-8, 8-3) roared back from a 35-20 halftime deficit before 1,147 fans at Stony Brook, N.Y.

Marcus Barnes chipped in with 17 points for Northeastern in the America East game.

Mitchell Beufort led the Seawolves (6-14, 3-8) with 14 points and Mike Konopka and D.J. Munir had 13 apiece.

Northeastern shot a lowly 22.9 percent from the field in the opening period but got hot in the second half, shooting 17 for 27 (63 percent).

UMass-Boston 73, WPI 57 -- Roger Perry and Eric Summerville combined for 41 points in leading the Beacons (5-15) to the upset at Clark Athletic Center in Boston.

Perry had 21 points and Summerville 20 while Mike Prestileo scored 16 points and Ryan Cain 15 for the Engineers (16-4).

Suffolk 82, Emerson 68 -- Eric Jenkins and Neil Simard combined for 37 points in the Rams' (7-11, 5-6 GNAC) win at Regan Gym in Boston.

Jenkins had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Simard 18 points and eight rebounds. Rob Hennigan was high scorer in the game with 27 points for the Lions (9-8, 7-4 GNAC) while Don Zinchuk had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Fairfield 67, Canisius 63 -- Rob Thomson had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Stags (13-8, 6-4 MAAC) at Buffalo.

Fairfield led by as many as 14 early in the second half before Canisius (7-15, 2-9) cut the lead to 43-39 with an 11-3 run. Chuck Harris's 3-pointer capped the spurt with 15 minutes left.

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