November 18, 2001; Storrs, CT - With four of its starters in double figures, the No. 1 University of Connecticut women’s basketball team utilized an early run to cruise over No. 3 Vanderbilt, 69-50, in the WNIT Final Sunday afternoon.
Senior Swin Cash scored all of her game-high and season-high 19 points in the first half to give the Huskies a halftime lead that they never relinquished.
For the fourth consecutive WNIT game, Connecticut sold out its arena with 10,027 fans showing up to watch the Top-5 matchup.
Cash opened the game with a layup for UConn, but Vanderbilt's Jenni Benningfield answered with a three-pointer to give her team an early 3-2 edge. The advantage would be the Commodores’ only one of the night, as UConn went on a 15-5 run to put the score at 17-8 with 13:08 left in the half. Behind Cash, the Huskies never looked back, posting a 36-27 lead at the half.
In the second half, senior Sue Bird emerged as UConn’s key offensive threat. After registering only two points in the first half, Bird scored 11 in the second half of play, finishing the contest with 13 points and five assists. Bird scored six points in a 15-4 Connecticut run to make the score 51-31 at the 11:51 mark.
Vanderbilt closed the gap to 51-34 on a three-pointer by point guard Ashley McElhiney, but UConn responded with another run, outscoring the Commodores 15-2 to open up its largest lead of the game with a 66-36 advantage with 6:15 left in the contest.
Sharpshooting from McElhiney narrowed the final score to 69-50. McElhiney finished with 10 points while Zuzi Klimesova led the Commodores with 16 points. Preseason Naismith Award candidate Chantelle Anderson also posted double figures with 10 points.
Sophomore Diana Taurasi and senior Tamika Williams rounded out the UConn double-digit scorers with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Cash finished with her third double-double in four games this season with 19 points and 10 rebounds. She was voted the MVP of the tournament.
UConn's Bird also was named to the all-tournament team, as was Vanderbilt's Anderson and Klimesova; Tera Bjorklund of Colorado; and Leah Metcalf of North Carolina.
The WNIT crown is the second in UConn’s history. The Huskies also opened the 1997-98 season with the tournament title.