STORRS, Conn. -- Connecticut took the first shot in its showdown with North Carolina, shook it off, then came back to deliver the knockout.
Renee Montgomery scored 26 points and top-ranked UConn stayed unbeaten by rallying past No. 3 North Carolina 82-71 on Monday night.
"It's like a heavyweight fight after the ref broke us up we got hit in the face, but we answered back and put them away," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.
Maya Moore added 19 points and Tina Charles had 15 points and matched her career-high with 19 rebounds for Connecticut (18-0).
She also blocked seven shots.
"Charles was a back-breaker," North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "She had 11 offensive rebounds and that we didn't need."
The game featured two of the highest scoring offenses in the country with both teams averaging over 85 points and they didn't disappoint. Only four teams had scored over 50 points this season against UConn. North Carolina passed that mark early in the second half.
Both teams saw the game as a litmus test to see where they stood midway through the regular season. The Tar Heels' only loss had been to then-No. 1 Tennessee. North Carolina had reeled off eight straight victories since that defeat on Dec. 2. Connecticut hadn't played a top-10 opponent since Thanksgiving weekend.
UConn looked disoriented in the first half as North Carolina was able to build an 11-point lead.
"I thought Carolina played flawless basketball in the beginning," Auriemma said.
The second half was a different story. The Huskies asserted themselves, outscoring North Carolina 49-27.
The Orange entered The Associated Press poll for the first time in school history Monday at No. 24 after giving No. 1 Connecticut its toughest game of the season. The Yellow Jackets, at No. 23, joined the Top 25 for the first time since 1993 after falling to No. 4 Maryland in double overtime Sunday.
Men's Top 25
No. 9 GEORGETOWN 64, SYRACUSE 62 (OT), at Washington -- Roy Hibbert scored 15 points for the Hoyas, including the only field goal of overtime.
Georgetown rallied from a seven-point deficit over the final five minutes of regulation then outscored the Orange 4-2 in a ragged overtime to improve to 10-0 at home this season.
No. 12 TEXAS 63, OKLAHOMA STATE 61, at Stillwater, Okla. -- D.J. Augustin scored 26 points and Damion James added 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Longhorns to a close victory.
Augustin scored six straight points as Texas held Oklahoma State scoreless for a 6-minute span for the second time in the game and took the lead, then hit all four of his free throws in the final minute to keep the Cowboys at bay.
MEMPHIS ON TOP --Memphis replaced North Carolina as the No. 1 team in college basketball, the Tigers' first appearance in 25 years at the top of The Associated Press poll.
Kansas, the nation's only other undefeated Division I men's team, moved up to No. 2 while the Tar Heels dropped to fifth after their loss to Maryland. Drake and Baylor were two new entries to the rankings, joining the Top 25 for the first time in a long time.