STORRS, Conn. (AP) — There is a new star in the storied rivalry between UConn and Notre Dame.
Freshman sensation Hannah Hidalgo scored a season-high 34 points Saturday night to lead the No. 15 Irish over No. 8 Connecticut 82-67.
Hidalgo hit 14 of her 24 shots and had 10 rebounds for Notre Dame (15-4), which shot 55% from the floor against the Huskies (17-4).
“Hannah is just relentless,” Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey said. “She’s a relentless player. What I love about her most is her confidence. She comes out, she’s very fearless. She just loves to compete.”
Maddy Westbeld added 23 points and Sonia Citron had 15 as Notre Dame handed UConn its first home loss of the season.
Notre Dame led by nine points at the half, but UConn’s Paige Bueckers opened the second half with a 3-pointer igniting a Husky run that saw UConn take the lead at 53-50 on a 3-pointer from the left corner by KK Arnold.
The game was tied at 60 with just over nine minutes left after a free throw by UConn’s Ice Brady. But UConn point guard Nika Muhl fouled out with 9 1/2 minutes left and the Irish outscored the Huskies 22-7 over the last nine minutes.
“We knew they were going to go on their runs and we just had to get on ours and stay poised and get through that,” Westbeld said.
Notre Dame trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half, before the Fighting Irish went on a 26-5 to close the second quarter up 44-35. Hidalgo had 19 first-half points, and banked in a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer.
“It took a lot of guts for her to come in here and do what she did,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “She’s damn good, right? Yeah.”
Aaliyah Edwards had 23 points and 11 rebounds for UConn, which came into the game on a 13-game winning streak. Bueckers added 17 points, but hit just five of her 17 shots from the floor.
The two teams have met 54 times and while UConn leads the series 39-15, Notre Dame has won two straight and four of the last seven meetings.
Notre Dame: Star guard Olivia Miles, who hasn’t played since suffering a right knee injury in last year’s regular-season finale in February, was out before the game putting up shots and cutting on her injured leg. But a team spokeswoman confirmed after the game that she would not play this season.
UConn: The Huskies honored four of its 11 national championship teams before the game and at halftime. Twenty-three former players, including WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart and former MVP Diana Taurasi were on hand for the ceremonies, which celebrated the 2003, 2004, 2013 and 2014 teams.
Hidalgo said she was prepared for the atmosphere of a sellout crowd in Storrs, in part because she got a taste of a similar hostile environment this summer when she played for the U.S. national team against Spain.
“The crowd was electric,” she said. “So I knew coming here it was going to be just like that.”
Notre Dame: The Irish continue their road trip with a visit to Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Thursday.
UConn: Heads to Philadelphia for a game Wednesday against Villanova.
Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball