A criminal psychology lecturer used techniques she teaches in class to talk a intruder she found in her bedroom out of her house.
The court heard that Ms O'Connell was remarkably calm
Paul Wright, 23, had taken a mixture of alcohol, prescription and illegal drugs before breaking into Clare O'Connell's home in Splott, Cardiff.
She used a "passive dominant" technique to keep him calm, Cardiff Crown Court was told.
Wright, of Adamsdown, Cardiff, admitted burglary and was jailed for 33 months.
The court heard that Ms O'Connell, 40, who lectures at the University of Wales, Newport, woke in the middle of the night to find Wright in her bedroom.
She said: "When I woke the man was silhouetted in the bedroom doorway in a very threatening way.
"I got out of bed and went over to him and said: 'Hello, isn't it late?" which isn't what he was expecting.
"I kept him confused and ushered him out of the house. I've studied passive dominant techniques and I'm so pleased it worked in practice."
Rachel Knight, prosecuting, said: "She acted remarkably calmly and took control of the situation.
"She jumped out of bed wrapping herself in her duvet. She said 'hello' - then ushered him down the stairs and calmly opened the front door saying 'off you go'".
Judge Christopher Llewellyn-Jones praised Ms O'Connell, saying she had showed "incredible courage".