KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Chamique Holdsclaw had to be proud.
In one of the biggest rivalries in women's basketball, Gwen Jackson scored 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as third-ranked Tennessee avenged its only loss of the season with a 92-88 victory over second-ranked Connecticut.
Holdsclaw, a member of three national championship teams at Tennessee who has gone on to play in the WNBA, had her No. 23 jersey retired in a halftime ceremony.
"I got choked up," she said. "I shed a tear. I know how much this program means to me." She had to like what she saw Thursday night as the Lady Vols won their 12th straight game while avenging an 81-76 loss at Connecticut on December 30.
"We pushed the tempo and took care of the basketball tonight," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "What was important was that we learned from the first game. We knew that we had to be better prepared. We learned volumes from the first game. Our players executed and we have to feel good coming away from this game." Jackson came up big in the second half, scoring six of her 22 points in a 13-5 run that gave Tennessee (22-1) a 76-72 advantage with 4 1/2 minutes remaining. The Lady Vols led the rest of the way.
Kara Lawson added 23 points and Kristen Clement 10 for the Lady Vols.
Diana Taurasi netted 24 points and Tamika Williams 23 for Connecticut (17-2), which has lost both of its games this season to teams ranked in the top five. The Huskies lost at then-No. 3 Notre Dame, 92-76, on January 15.
"This was a great game. It was a shame that it had to end, but if we had 10 more minutes, who knows," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "It was one of those games where we did enough to win and any other game we would have.
"Tennessee is a great team and we are a great team. It is unfortunate someone had to lose, but nobody really lost." The Tennessee and Connecticut rivalry has developed into one of the best in college basketball, with the schools having combined to win five of the last six national titles.
The contest has become a yearly occurence. The Huskies lead the all-time series by a narrow 7-6 margin.
After the halftime ceremony, the Lady Vols came out of the locker room energized and took their biggest lead at 61-52 with 14:12 remaining following a five-footer by Jackson, who made 12-of-15 shots from the field.
"The credit goes to my teammates. They distributed the ball and got the ball to me when I was open," Jackson said. "(Connecticut) was concentrating on our perimeter, and they left the post wide open. I was able to step up." Auriemma took a timeout and his club responded, using a 15-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Taurasi, to take a 67-63 lead with 8:46 to play.
But the Lady Vols would not be denied in front of over 24,000 screaming fans at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Jackson sank a 12-footer and Snow made two free throws to tie it. Jackson converted a layup to put the Lady Vols ahead for good and Ashley Robinson also had a layup for a 71-67 lead with 6:19 remaining.
Williams made two foul shots and Taurasi a 3-pointer, giving the Huskies the lead again. But Jackson scored the next five points to give Tennessee the lead for good.
Auriemma's frustration boiled over in the game's final minute, when he was whistled for a technical foul following a hard foul by Taurasi.
Lawson was the other offensive force for the Lady Vols in the first half, when she scored 15 points to help Tennessee to a 45-44 lead. Neither team led by more than five points over the opening 20 minutes.
Svetlana Abrosimova, playing with a left foot injury, scored 14 of her 18 points in the first half for Connecticut, which shot 46.5 percent (33-of-71) and held a 47-38 rebounding advantage.
The Lady Vols dominated at the free-throw line, making 28-of-40 attempts compared to only 11-of-15 for Connecticut.
Tennessee shot 46 percent (30-of-65) from the field.