March 31, 2013

NCAA Women: Freshmen spark UConn

The Associated Press

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Connecticut's youngest players have the Huskies back in an old and familiar spot.

Malina Howard, Kiah Stokes, Kelly Faris
click image to enlarge

Malina Howard, left, of Maryland reaches for a rebound along with Connecticut’s Kiah Stokes, center, and Kelly Faris during UConn’s 76-50 victory Saturday in Bridgeport, Conn.

The Associated Press

Freshmen Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck combined for 35 points as UConn advanced to its eighth straight women's basketball regional final with a 76-50 blowout over Maryland on Saturday.

"I think we were 16 for 28 from the floor, our freshmen," UConn Coach Geno Auriemma said. "One turnover between the three of them. I thought they were the key to the game today for sure."

Stewart and sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each had 17 points to lead the Huskies (32-4). Stewart also had eight rebounds and four blocked shots.

Jefferson made several key defensive stops, and her two fast-break layups capped a 9-0 run to start the second half, giving UConn a 44-26 lead.

"We got in a nice offensive flow," she said. "Once the transition game came, then the offensive flow was right there."

Her layup midway through the second half stretched the lead to 60-38. She finished with 10 points and Tuck had eight as the Huskies' bench outscored Maryland's, 25-0.

"They didn't play like freshmen at all," center Stefanie Dolson said. "They came out confident and ready to play. They knew what they needed to do for our team and what they can do."

Two-time ACC player of the year Alyssa Thomas was held to 13 for Maryland (26-8). Tianna Hawkins and Chloe Pavlech each had 11 points.

The Huskies will play Kentucky on Monday night in a rematch of last year's regional final.

KENTUCKY 69, DELAWARE 62: Jennifer O'Neill scored 19 points and A'dia Mathies added 16 as the second-seeded Wildcats (30-5) ended the stellar career of Delaware's Elena Delle Donne.

Delle Donne had 33 points for Delaware (32-4) and finished her career as the fifth all-time leading scorer in NCAA history with 3,039 points. She passed Cheryl Miller, Chamique Holdsclaw and Maya Moore in her final game.

Kentucky led by 14 in the second half before the Blue Hens cut it to 62-60 with 2:47 left on a jumper by Delle Donne.

But Kastine Evans calmly responded with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 65-60.

GEORGIA 61, STANFORD 59: Jasmine Hassell scored six of her 13 points in the final three minutes and the fourth-seeded Bulldogs (28-6) upset the top-seeded Cardinal (33-3) at Spokane, Wash., to reach the regional final for the first time since 2004.

Jasmine James led Georgia with 16 points, including a pair of free throws with 23.5 seconds left that gave the Bulldogs a 60-56 lead.

Chiney Ogwumike led Stanford with 26 points but was held to eight in the second half. Stanford was seeking its sixth straight trip to the Final Four.

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