Sunday’s NCAA women: UConn, Syracuse make title game
Indianapolis — Breanna Stewart said she wanted to win four titles in her time at Connecticut.
Now, after a record rout, the Huskies are one victory away from a fourth consecutive national championship fulfilling Stewart’s goal. A feat never accomplished in women’s basketball.
Morgan Tuck scored 21 points and Stewart 16 to help UConn beat Oregon State, 80-51, on Sunday night in the women’s Final Four.
“I think it sunk in when we were going back to the locker room all excited,” Stewart said. “One game left and we’re exactly in the position we want to be in. Now it’s practice tomorrow. National championship game Tuesday.”
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.
“I don’t know what I can do to help them except keep reminding them all the time this is your spot, you’ve owned this spot for the last three years,” Auriemma said.
“Now there’s no guarantee you’re going to get it Tuesday night, but we’re not going in there Tuesday night hoping we win. Because these three (players) they’ve done more than that, it doesn’t mean we’re going to win, but I don’t have to help them with that mentality.”
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.
Stewart wasn’t much of a factor for the Huskies in the opening 20 minutes.
Stewart, a 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.
Syracuse 80, Washington 59: Alexis Petterson scored 18 for the Orange (30-7) and Brittany Sykes 17. Brianna Butler scored 12 and broke the NCAA record for 3-pointers in a season with 128.
Connecticut 80, Oregon State 51
Syracuse 80, Washington 59
Connecticut (37-0) vs. Syracuse (30-7), 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)