INDIANAPOLIS — Morgan Tuck scored 21 points and Breanna Stewart added 16 to help UConn rout Oregon State 80-51 in record fashion Sunday night in the women’s Final Four.

The Huskies are one victory away from a fourth consecutive national championship fulfilling Stewart’s goal. A feat never accomplished before in women’s basketball.

If UConn does win on Tuesday night Coach Geno Auriemma will have an 11th national championship moving him past vaunted UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden for the most all time.

The 29-point victory was the biggest margin of victory in women’s Final Four history, surpassing the 28-point win by Tennessee over Arkansas in 1998. It was UConn’s 74th consecutive victory, the second-longest winning streak in NCAA and school history.

Stewart wasn’t much of a factor for the Huskies in the opening 20 minutes. The three-time AP player of the year picked up two quick fouls and didn’t score her first points until she hit a turnaround jumper with 3 minutes left in the half. That basket came in the middle of a 15-2 run to close the opening 20 minutes.

She quashed any thoughts of an Oregon State rally, scoring 14 points in the second half for UConn (37-0). Just as they had done in the previous 73 games, the Huskies won by double digits.

Next up will be either Syracuse or Washington. Either team will have a very tall task in front of them to stop UConn’s historic run. The Huskies have never lost in an NCAA title game.

Tuck was a big reason why UConn was able to build its big lead. Oregon State had 6-foot-6 center Ruth Hamblin guarding her for most of the first half. The Beavers’ center was playing off her, daring Tuck to shoot from the outside. She had 10 of the Huskies first 15 points as UConn jumped out to a 15-6 advantage.

UConn led 32-24 after Jamie Weisner hit a 3-pointer with 5:33 left in the half. Then the Huskies took over.

About the only negative for UConn was that freshman Katie Lou Samuelson broke the third metatarsal bone in her left foot in the first half. She missed practice Saturday because she was feeling under the weather. She started on Sunday, scoring seven points in the first half in 17 minutes. She didn’t come out of the locker room for the start of the second half, returning to the UConn bench early in the third quarter with a boot on her foot.

Oregon State’s season came to an end. The Beavers won their first conference tournament title, and reached the Final Four for the first time. Not bad for a program that was in disarray six years ago.

Then Coach Scott Rueck came in and the Beavers have been on the rise since.

Sydney Wiese scored 13 points to lead Oregon State (32-5). Hamblin finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. She left with 1:25 left, getting a hug from Rueck.

SYRACUSE 80, WASHINGTON 59: Alexis Peterson scored 18 points and Brittney Sykes added 17 to help Syracuse roll past Washington and into the program’s first women’s national championship game.

The Orange (30-7) will face UConn, the three-time defending champions, on Tuesday night in Indianapolis. The Huskies set a semifinal round record with a 29-point victory over Pac-12 champion Oregon State in the early game.

Syracuse made it look almost as easy.

Washington (26-11) was led by Talia Walton, who had 29 points and made a Final Four record eight 3-pointers. The previous record of six was set by Katie Steding in the 1990 title game and matched in 2013 by Antonita Slaughter. Kelsey Plum, the nation’s No. 3 scorer, had 17 points.

But Syracuse rode its defense and took a 23-12 lead after one quarter, extended the lead to 39-20 midway through the second quarter and never let the Huskies get within single digits again.

“Our players just did what we asked them to do,” Syracuse Coach Quentin Hillsman said. “They competed at a high level and we were able to speed them up a couple of times when we really needed to.”

The story line looked awfully familiar.

In their first meeting this season, Syracuse built a 21-point lead before Washington rallied to within one. The Orange held on for a 66-62 victory.

This time, Syracuse never let it get that close.

When Washington cut the halftime deficit to 43-31, Peterson hit a 3 to start a 9-4 spurt that made it 52-35. When the Huskies got within 11, Syracuse used a 15-2 run to make it 67-43. And when Washington closed to 72-59 midway through the fourth quarter, Sykes and Brianna Butler made back-to-back 3s to seal it.

“I don’t think they did anything they haven’t been doing for the last month,” Huskies Coach Mike Neighbors said.


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