UConn women roll on with 76th straight win
DAYTON, Ohio — The Connecticut Huskies swear they're not perfect. Their last 76 opponents might disagree.
Maya Moore scored 22 points to lead the Huskies past Florida State, 90-50, last night, sending the defending champions back to the Final Four and stretching their unprecedented win streak to 76 games.
"It's the time of the year when you want to play your best," said Moore, selected as the regional's most outstanding player. "We're on a roll right now. We're confident. That's what you guys are seeing. We still have some things we need to improve. We're not perfect."
Really? Good luck to any opponent if they ever are.
Tina Charles controlled the paint with 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Huskies (37-0), who advance to their eighth Final Four since 2000, where they will meet Baylor in the semifinals Sunday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The 40-point victory was the largest margin ever in a regional final.
"Boy, they make you play ugly," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said, shaking her head. "We missed a ton of shots, but that's because they did such a great job in every area."
The Huskies are dominating unlike any team ever. No team has come within 12 points of them all season. They have won their first four games of the 2010 NCAA tournament by a record 188 points — a margin of 47 points a game.
Coach Geno Auriemma was humbled by the latest bit of mastery.
"We get on this run and ... I don't know how to explain it," he said, sighing heavily. "We're good, though."
His team's defensive intensity mixed with remarkable talent can turn a close game into a lopsided one quickly.
"I was happy way the first half ended. We were up 14 and we didn't play great and Maya hasn't played at all (she had picked up two fouls)," Auriemma said. "Then I look up and we're up 25, 30. When we start defending you and you start getting a little quick and start losing your composure and the ball starts flying all over the place ... all of a sudden we're up 40 points."
Jacinta Monroe had 15 points for the Seminoles (29-6), who set a school record for victories while going deeper in the NCAA tournament than any FSU team before.
OKLAHOMA 88, KENTUCKY 68
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oklahoma withstood early adversity, composed itself and took control with balance, hustle and grit.
In a game that mirrored their season, the Sooners pulled through. Now they're going back to the Final Four.
Nyeshia Stevenson scored 31 points and Oklahoma blew past fourth-seeded Kentucky, 88-68, last night to earn its second straight trip to the national semifinals.
Amanda Thompson added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the third-seeded Sooners (27-10), who face Stanford on Sunday in San Antonio.
The Wildcats stormed to a 17-4 lead, only to see the Sooners rally to go ahead 43-39 by halftime. Oklahoma opened the second half on a 15-5 run, then scored 11 straight points to jump ahead 69-50 with 6:30 left.
Victoria Dunlap had 31 points and 12 rebounds to lead Kentucky (28-8), which was seeking its first trip to the Final Four. The Wildcats stunned top-seeded Nebraska to reach their first regional final since 1982, but they couldn't complete the Big 12 sweep in Kansas City.
After a brutal start, the second half belonged to the Sooners.
"Well I don't know what that was for the first five minutes, these kids have fought back all year. It's sort of their identity," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "Their confidence was unwavering. I give them credit for keeping their head and getting out of it."
Stevenson — who finished one point shy of a career high — followed a 3 with a transition layup to give Oklahoma its first double-digit edge, 54-44. Danielle Robinson then hit a layup, and Thompson's open jumper put the Sooners ahead by 14.
North Carolina 68, Rhode Island 67: Deon Thompson had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and the Tar Heels (20-16) survived a frantic final few seconds in overtime to defeat the Rams (26-10) and advance to the final of the NIT at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Tar Heels will try to make some bittersweet history tomorrow night against Dayton by becoming the first school to follow a national title with an NIT title.
Dayton 68, Mississippi 63: Chris Johnson scored 22 points, including five free throws down the stretch, helping the Flyers (24-12) turn back the Rebels (24-11) to advance to the final of the NIT at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Missouri State 78, Pacific 65: Caleb Patterson scored 16 points and Missouri (24-12) went on an 11-0 run to take the lead for good at 55-50 with 9 minutes left to beat Pacific (23-12) to capture the CollegeInsider.com Tournament championship yesterday at Springfield, Mo.