BRIDGEPORT REGIONAL:?Connecticut 76, Maryland 50
Connecticut’s youngest players have the Huskies back in an old and familiar spot.
Freshmen Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck combined for 35 points as UConn (32-4) advanced to its eighth straight regional final with a 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. 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 and control of the game.
“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 half stretched the lead to 60-38. She finished with 10 points and Tuck had eight as the Huskies’ reserves 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 points for Maryland, which finished its season at 26-8.
Tianna Hawkins and Chloe Pavlech each had 11 points for the Terps.
Maryland trailed 35-26 at the half and went scoreless for the first three minutes after intermission, allowing UConn to blow the game open.
“I thought we’d come out of the locker room with a lot more energy,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “They came with a knockout punch in the second half.”
Connecticut will play Kentucky on Monday night in a rematch of last year’s regional final.
BRIDGEPORT REGIONAL:?Kentucky 69, Delaware 62
Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has his team one victory away from the school’s first Final Four. The Wildcats had to overcome an incredible effort by Elena Delle Donne to get there.
Jennifer O’Neill scored 19 points and A’dia Mathies added 16 to help Kentucky hold off the Blue Hens, bringing to an end the stellar career of Delle Donne.
It’s the second straight season that Kentucky (30-5) has advanced to the regional final and will play Connecticut. The top-seeded Huskies beat Maryland 76-50 on Saturday in the second game. UConn beat Kentucky by 15 points last year.
“When we were here last year and go back and watch those games, I think we’re more talented than the team last year,” Mitchell said. “If we play really hard and make shots, we can beat either team.”
Kentucky withstood a Delaware rally led by Delle Donne, who had 33 points for Delaware (32-4). The Wildcats led by 14 in the second half before the Blue Hens cut it to 62-60.
Kastine Evans responded with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 65-60.
“She’s unbelievable in those moments,” Mitchell said.
SPOKANE REGIONAL:?Georgia 61, Stanford 59
Jasmine Hassell scored six of her 13 points in the final three minutes and fourth-seeded Georgia reached the NCAA women’s regional finals for the first time since 2004 with a victory over top-seeded Stanford.
Georgia overcame three major scoring droughts, including falling behind 9-0 to start the game, to oust the No. 1 seed from the regional and end Stanford’s hopes of reaching the Final Four for the sixth straight year.
Jasmine James led Georgia (28-6) with 16 points, including two free throws with 23.5 seconds left that gave the Bulldogs a 60-56 lead. It’s the 11th trip to the regional finals for coach Andy Landers in his long tenure at Georgia.
Chiney Ogwumike led Stanford (33-3) with 26 points, but was held to eight in the second half.