Monday women's roundup: UConn destroys Dayton
Albany, N.Y. — Geno Auriemma and his Connecticut Huskies are back in a familiar place — the Final Four.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 27 to help Connecticut defeat Dayton, 91-70, on Monday night to advance to the national semifinals for an eighth straight season.
Now the Huskies stand two wins away from a third straight national championship. They accomplished that same feat from 2002-04.
Unlike the first three games of the Tournament when Connecticut won by an average of nearly 48 points, the Huskies got all they could handle from the seventh-seeded Flyers, who weren't intimidated by the top seed, for the first 20 minutes.
"When we're challenged, sometimes that's when we're at our best, and that's what we talked about in the locker room and I couldn't be prouder of them and happier for them … especially tonight against a great, great team," Auriemma said. "Boy, I'm glad we don't have to play them again."
Trailing at the half for the first time in two seasons, Connecticut scored the first nine points of the second half during a 15-3 run to take a 58-47 lead with 13:56 left.
A little more than a minute later, Mosqueda-Lewis hit her fifth 3-pointer, giving her 393 in her career to break the NCAA record for 3-pointers. That made it 62-49.
Dayton (28-7) couldn't get within seven the rest of the way thanks in a big part to Mosqueda-Lewis, who finished with seven 3-pointers.
"It eases my mind a lot," Mosqueda-Lewis said of getting the record. "Now I only have one thing to worry about — a national championship."
The Huskies also turned up their defensive pressure. The Flyers shot 51 percent (18-for-35) in the first half, but could only manage to hit 37 percent in the second half.
Breanna Stewart added 23 points and 16 rebounds while Morgan Tuck scored 23 for the Huskies (36-1). Stewart was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the region.
Connecticut plays Maryland (34-2) in the semifinals Sunday night.
The Flyers went shot for shot with the Huskies the first half with neither team able to take larger than a five-point lead.
"Really proud of our guys, we competed, weren't intimidated," Dayton coach Jim Jabir said. "They are the best team in the country, bar none. …
"For a long time we hung around and hung around. I couldn't be more proud, this was a great day."
This was the first time since the Big East final in 2013 that the Huskies trailed at the half.
Maryland 58, Tennessee 48: Lexie Brown scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half, Brionna Jones added 14 points and nine rebounds and top-seeded Maryland advanced to its second straight Final Four in the Spokane Regional final.
Brown hit three 3-pointers in the second half as the Terrapins (34-2) overcame their lowest-scoring first half of the season to knock out Tennessee from the NCAAs for the second straight year.
It's the fifth Final Four appearance for the Terrapins and third under coach Brenda Frese.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 12 points for the Terrapins, who held Tennessee to one field goal over the final 5 minutes. Maryland has won 28 straight games.
Ariel Massengale led Tennessee (30-6) with 16 points, but the Lady Vols missed their chance at reaching the Final Four for the first time since 2008.