UConn Rolls To 14th Final Four

by Categorized: 2013 NCAA Tournament, UConn women's basketball Date:

What’s basketball without hope the stars might align to make it possible for the virtually improbable to occur?

They did in Oklahoma City Sunday night when Louisville, almost a 30-point underdog, dethroned defending national champion Baylor with 40 minutes of force and focused shooting.

On Monday, Kentucky likely hoped to wish upon the same constellation against UConn in the Bridgeport Regional final at the Webster Bank Arena.

And the stars did come out. Just not for the Wildcats.

Behind freshman Breanna Stewart, who scored 21 points, and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who added 17, the Huskies rolled easily into a record sixth straight Final Four with a resounding 83-53 win over the Wildcats.

The Huskies (33-4) also had 12 points Kelly Faris. Moriah Jefferson and Bria Hartley scored 10 each for the Huskies, who will be playing in their 14th Final Four since 1991.

This was the second straight year UConn ended Kentucky’s Final Four dream in the Elite Eight. Last year it was in Kingston, R.I. This time it came before a boisterous sellout about 90 miles south from UConn’s campus.

A’dia Mathies ended her college career by leading Kentucky (30-6) with 14 points

And now, on Sunday, the Huskies pursuit of an eighth national championship continues in the national semifinals against either Notre Dame or Duke, who play Tuesday in the Elite Eight.

UConn beat Duke by 30 on Jan. 21 at Gampel Pavilion. Notre Dame, well, you’ve likely seen that movie by now.  UConn has lost seven of eight against the Irish, including all three games this season and the last two national semifinal games.

But that’s an issue for another day, one that would have no immediate relevance had the Huskies not played with so much flair Monday.

It was easy to tell when the character of this game changed. It was right after Kentucky scored to give it a 23-22 lead with 9:07 to play in the first half.

To put it in a way Kentucky can relate: It was “30 Minutes of Dread” – a slight variation its team slogan of “40 Minutes of Dread.”

That basket was the culmination of entertaining and athletic opening act that began with Jennifer O’Neill’s opening three to give Kentucky a 3-0 lead. The Wildcats were in it to win it.

From there on it was 10 minutes of terror for them, suddenly consumed by wave after wave of pressure. They simply could not contain or abate what came after them. After it didn’t relent until UConn was ready to stop it.

The Huskies scored the next 17 points over 6:42 to springboard to New Orleans. By the time Jelleah Sidney ended the drought with her three-pointer with 2:25 to play, the thoroughbred, as they say in Lexington, was out of the barn.

Stewart, the high school player of the year, continued her remarkable renaissance dating to the start of the Big East tournament nearly a month ago. Not only did she score 13 points in the first half, but she was a presence on defense, her long arms and NBA reach producing two emphatic blocked shots.

Stewart’s effort was needed because it was clear that Stefanie Dolson, it pillar post, was having trouble moving because of her stress fracture and plantar fasciitis.

But Dolson  pushed through, playing a team-high 17 minutes in the first half when she grabbed seven rebounds.

What she couldn’t do was compensated for by Mosqueda-Lewis, who scored eight of UConn’s first 14 points.

Faris added eight more and freshman Moriah Jefferson, her confidence soaring by the possession, brought her dimension of warp speed to UConn’s transition game, even after taking a nasty spill in the Kentucky band late in the second half.

And UConn’s pressure persisted into the second half, almost as if to prove a point to whomever may be waiting for them in New Orleans.

With 11:15 to play, its lead was 61-35, meaning the Huskies run had swelled to 39-12 from the time it last trailed.

 

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38 thoughts on “UConn Rolls To 14th Final Four

  1. Geno Aid

    What? The 14th Final Four you say? Another 30+ win season? We just destroyed the cream of the SEC and #2 seed by 30 points with a hobbled Dolson and top reserve Banks out for the year? Waiting for all those who were beating up on Stewart the past few weeks to chime in with their antics. And those who wrote off Jefferson after some reckless play early in the season. Even Hartley playing with more confidence now. Who could possibly have instilled all that? None of this could have anything to do with Geno. He’s awful…definitely washed up…players don’t respond to him…needs to go…blah, blah, blah. That’s right baby…I’m drinking my Geno kool-aid, just like I have been since 1992. Gonna order a nice big glass of it down on Bourbon Street while I’m watching the Final Four.

    1. BREAKING NEWS

      Muffet still owns Geno
      Notre Dame still owns UConn
      Skylar still owns all you Haters

      1. Yawn...

        How many National Championships does ND have in WBB? Thought so. Enjoy that first (laughter) Big East Championship Tournament Championship. You’ve got a looooooooooooong way to go to catch up!!!

      2. Kevin Cavanaugh

        No, Little Miss Muffet does not OWN anyone. How many Big East Banners and how many NCAA Championship banners hang above in South Bend?

        Also, how many sweet 16’s have ND participated in?

        It is funny that you talk about ownership. I would say, instead, that Little Miss Muffet has rented a small cottage for the past two seasons and her rent is up – in fact, it is overdue, and she probably will not be able to make the next payment.

        The bill collector will be knocking on Little Miss Muffet’s door to tell her to pack up and leave by maybe as early as tomorrow night in Norfolk. Duke might help us evict Notre Dame early – telling them to go back home to South Bend.

        If Duke doesn’t push the eviction, UCONN will do the job next Sunday in New Orleans.

        Either way, Notre Dame is outta money, steam, time, and mostly outta luck.

        UCONN was rebuilding the last year or two.

        Oh, what has been Notre Dame’s excuse for the 16 years before that when UCONN was beating ND consistently?

        You never want to talk about all the banners hanging in Storrs. Why not?

      3. JD

        Both of you are idiots. Why are you even here if you are not fans? If you don’t have nothing nice to say, then don’t say it at all. Show some class. If you can’t do that then at least keep your mouths shut.

        1. JD

          I mean the two first two people who commented are idiots. Geno aid and Breaking News. Congrats Uconn. Good luck in the final four.

          1. JD

            nhntc47 Don’t call me an idiot. The only person who is being an idiot is you by calling me an idiot. Do you even know know me? NO. I am a long time Uconn fan and it doesn’t seem like you are. if you can’t be nice and stay classy, then leave. You can always skip the posts, etc. If you don’t have nothing nice to say, then don’t say it.

          2. JD

            nhntc47 I did get what he was saying. but he/she wasn’t being classy. That is why I called them an idiot. What are you blind? He says Geno is awful. Geno is not awful. He’s a great coach. Just saying if you don’t like him or Uconn why watch them or comment on Uconn blog? Congrats to Uconn though. Great win

      4. nhntc47

        Muppet still needs to win another championship. Skylar has zero. Skylar looked like a below average player against Baylor. Shoni Schimmel made Griner look like a fool. It’s funny how Mulky whined that those Louisville girls bullied her little innocent 6’8 girl.

      5. JR

        Has Skylar broken 40% against UConn? Committed less than 5 TO’s? She can thank McBride and some missed FT’s for the Irish wins.

      6. HuskyFanNation

        Breaking News, I have some news for you twit:

        Notre Dame doesn’t own squat! As other posts have remarked the Irish still have but one NCAA banner hanging from their rafters. They’ve been to the National championship game the last two years. Their record? 0 – 2! I have this sneaking suspicion that should Notre Dame and UConn meet in the National semi-final that the Huskies will end Skylar Diggins’ college career. UConn is suddenly not the same team that they were the first 3 times that the two teams met. If I were Geno, (and he knows whats best) I would have Moriah guard Diggins. Cut off the head and the body dies. Maryland and Kentucky’s point guards found out the hard way that Moriah is suddenly playing on another level and the last two games has been completely disruptive on defense. Brianna Stewart is also on another level. Does Notre Dame have someone who can stop her – in addition to KML, Bria Hartley, (who played under control against Kentucky)? Of course Breaking News we’re assuming that Notre Dame wins tonight going up against Duke in their regional final. In sports, nothing is a given. Just ask Baylor the other night!! Yeah, you Geno naysayers, (such as you Breaking News) we drink from the Geno Kool-Aid. There’s a reason why he’s won 7 NCAA titles, whereas with Muffet McGraw, (“Ms. Fashion Statement” walking up and down on the sidelines); everyone knows how many titles the overpraised coach of the Irish has. That answer would be 1 – which from the lyrics of an old Three Dog Night song is a very lonely number!

        1. Kevin Cavanaugh

          Husky Fan; Great observations, but I have one question (really).

          Maybe MoJo would be good on Diggins, but if so, who would Faris focus on?

          Also, if UCONN does their zone, with Dolson and Stewie left and right of the paint, UCONN should be able to get more defensive boards because Faris and KML will be able to intimidate long ball shooters.

          Also, Stewie will negate Diggins drives to the basket. Diggins will have to stop short and shoot.

          By the way, they have already painted a green “X” in the tunnel in New Orleans so Muffet can take her team to witness UCONN moving on to the final game.

          Does anyone remember when Muffet took her team out of signt after they lost?

          I also think that Duke is more than capable of beating ND tonight. Duke – a team we beat decisively on a regular basis.

          Duke- a team with bigs, a great freshman, good outside shooting, hustle, and great rebounding.

          If Verneray has a good outting agains Achonwa and McBride, Duke could pull off the upset.

          1. UConn Husky Fan

            Kevin,
            As Huskyfan1213 noted, and he, (or she) is 100% correct – Kelly should guard Kayla McBride.

      7. dakotaboy

        Breaking News… you are irrelevant… and just plain old sad…. please get some help….

      8. Sal and Irene

        Don’t you wish!!!! Luck of the Irish won those games! One point wins make for thrilling games. However, one pointers don’t say the winning team is immensely better!

      1. Yay...ND WBB is finally relevant!

        BREAKING NEWS reminds me of the L.A. Clipper fans that are all talking smack now to Laker fans about how superior their organization is. Must be a relief to know someone is finally paying attention to you. Wake me when you win a few more championships…

    2. Freshly Squeezed Geno Aid

      Maybe the Huskies can adapt Louisville’s thug tactics on Diggins and hope the refs bet on UConn. I gotta run. Your mom’s callin.

      1. Thanks mom!

        Have fun hanging out with my mom. Is she taking you down to the Basketball Hall of Fame to see the UConn exhibit and Geno’s HOF plaque? Don’t look too hard for the stuff on ND and Muffett…it ain’t there. PS Pick me up some Geno Aid at the snack bar…

    3. The Difference is

      Breanna Stewart, Mariah Jefferson (mo jo), Hartley, Faris, KML, Dolson,Tuck, Doty.

      That was the difference. Stewart in the Big games in Dec/Jan was a frightened puppy. In the really big NCAA she is amazing. She was a difference maker.
      Mo Jo–defended better than Faris or Doty, drove to the basket (Uconn has had few like this in the past 5 years) “roofed” a UK player. When she was in the game Uconn was a much different team.
      Tuck showed signs of being one of Connecticuts best. Quick hands.
      Stokes was taken out because she was a lost soul and lost the ball twice. At the End, thank you Geno, she was put back in and played defense extremely well and scored down low–where she belongs. Geno talked to her and told her what she had to do–thank you Geno–and she responded, Thank you Kiah!!
      Dolson got a chance to rest her weary legs and feet-thank you team.
      Brianna was the Most Important Player .

      Muffet you didn’t play this team. You didn’t beat THIS team. You played Freshmen–these are upper classmen.

    4. Congrats Geno/Team

      Great win. Kentucky is a great team with talent 12 people deep. They come at you in waves. Then play 30 minutes of Dread.

      Uconn plays 10 minutes of shear terror.

      Walker was a non factor–I think her love for Uconn let her throw the game. (Ha Ha Ha)

      Congratulations to the entire team. Congratulations to Geno for the win, for playing Stokes, for sitting Dolson and Doty, for beating a very, very good team.

    5. mark

      great ob ladies. but lets notkid ourselves. we otery lucky. when he Baylor bears got upset. much as im a UConn fan. I dn’t look through husky filed glasses. Baylor. was thebest team n the nation. could we have beaten them? sure e could have. griies. s the bestplayer ive seen in the womens game ever. sorry taurasi n miss moore. this women was a beast.dont lke hr attitude though . and coach mulky. complaining abot theofficiating when Baylor went to th charitystripe. way more thenthe cardinals did. we hav to focus n the irish now. they will beat the cardinals. geno!hasto find way. to stop wiggins. have to have Jefferson.hve the game f h life. Hartley. has to hit some three’s. everyone. caash the boards also. they will notbeat us a forth time no way. not a geno run team.but who knows. they sure seem to have our number s year. thank god! stewie is coming around. go huskies.

    6. 40 minutes of H well

      Arkansas (men) delivered 40 minutes of hell in their many squad pressure defense. Kentucky wasn’t even close.
      Uconn has this year given teams 20 minutes of the Arkansas dwell.
      Geno’s record in the final four has been very good to excellent. Except for the last two losses–if he made it to the final 4 he won it all.

  2. BILLNAPLES

    I thought the ND crowd would at least be smart enough to take a low profile position at least until if and when they get past Duke. Baylor found out the hard way strange things can and do happen, even Stanford got clipped. And I would not remotely regret not having to beat ND and SD should Duke smack them down. You can’t control who you play. Thanks ladies for a great year no matter the last two.

    1. Mo Jo Lover

      Bill Naples—You and Mike McManus are great bloggers–no name calling , just facts.

      I believe THIS Uconn team can and if need be will beat Notre Dame. However, Notre Dame is a very very good team. McBride is KML on steroids. Diggins if you don’t keep your attention on her all the time–she’ll steal from you. And she is a streak shooter. Achonwa is good but Stewie, Tuck, Dolson are better. Jewel and Cable are good freshmen
      If Uconn respects the ball, plays tough defense (without fouling) and Stokes plays as she has the talent to play. Uconn will OWN notre dame once again.
      Doty should not play in the ND game she is too slow and passes badly.

      1. Kevin Cavanaugh

        Hey MoJo Lover; Great comments. a couple of minor tweeks.

        1. Doty should start and play for two or three minutes only for continuity. MoJo knows she is appreciated and she will get her twenty or thirty minutes.
        2. ND freshmen are good but ours have risen will balance them out.
        3.UCONN must be able to change speeds. Go warp speed on fast breaks but otherwise focus on solid passing and ball control.
        4.Also focus on solid ball control to free up KML to do her thing.
        5.UCONN needs to fill up the paint on “D” with bigs. with paint controlled – Diggins cannot shine with layups and UCONN will outrebound ND.
        6. Game might never take place if Duke has a great game. I would rather play Duke than ND, we rock over Duke all the time.

        1. Awareness

          If you recall Kev,after Doty made all those turnovers to start the game and Geno yanked her out, I thought, for sure, Doty would not come in again, if ever. But Geno put her back in and she sank a three to give us the lead, we played with more composure and that was the start of our great run which put the game away. Unfortunately those moments are very rare but that is what Geno hopes for when he puts her in,

  3. FREDDKOOL

    FREDDYKOOL: THE BAYLOR QUEENS GOT BEAT AN WER’RE GONNA HAVE A PARTY HAY LA DEE DA OH YES WE ARE!!!!! I HOPE WE PLAY THE TUFFET N THE BRAT UCONN BY 20 POINTS IF THEY GET BY DUKE……..”EIGHT IS GREAT” I LOVE YOU COACHES N LADIES SO KEEP ON KEEPING ON…..U R ALL “KOOL”

  4. UconnFan

    Through the years, I have become amazed at how unrealistic many of the Uconn fans have become and the haters who have a half empty glass negative outlook and are in no way a student of the game always pick on Geno. It is a good thing Baylor does not reside in some city in Ct. because the coach would have been crucified by them and the players would be called choke artist and worst.

    1. Youcon Fann

      But Geno himself set that standard, no one else did. He put himself in that position and now he has to live up to it. I’m sure he wouldn’t want it any other way.

  5. Maryanne Hartley

    One thing we’ve learned in Catholic schools is to always respect your opponents, don’t run them into the ground and when they lose–remember that can be us on any day.

    Some of the above, if ever taught to Muffets team, seems to have been forgotten. Strutting and pouting and mouthing to the camera’s–wouldn’t fly with Father Taylors teams.

    Having said that. Notre Dame is a talented team with a very talented coach. I think they are better at one position (prior to the UK game), point guard.
    Having watched the last game against Nd, I believe the best chance to win is the 2-3 zone with bigs in the back and fast Hartley/Mo Jo up front. McBride couldn’t score with that nor could Diggins make her patented basket attacks and dishes.

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