No. 3 UConn 76, No. 12 Maryland 50

Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each scored 17

points, leading top-seeded Connecticut over Maryland 76-50 on

Saturday in the Bridgeport regional semifinals.

Stewart got help from fellow freshmen Moriah Jefferson, 10

points, and Morgan Tuck, eight points, in sending the top-seeded

Huskies (32-4) to their eighth straight NCAA regional final.

Alyssa Thomas, who had averaged 28.5 points in the tournament,

had 13 to lead Maryland, which finished its season at 26-8. Tianna

Hawkins and Chloe Pavlech each had 11 points for the Terps.

UConn led 35-26 at halftime, then opened the second half on a

9-0 run.

The Huskies will play Kentucky in on Monday night in a rematch

of last year’s regional final, which was played just over 100 miles

away in Kingston, R.I.

The Wildcats beat Delaware 69-62 earlier Saturday.

Connecticut will be playing in a regional final for the 19th

time. The Huskies have made five consecutive trips to the Final

Four and are seeking their eighth national title.

Connecticut’s freshmen were not part of any of that. But they

were the difference in this one.

Stewart pulled down nine rebounds and also blocked four

shots.

Jefferson made several key defensive stops and her two

fast-break layups capped the early second half run that pushed

UConn’s lead to 18 at 44-26 and gave the Huskies control of the

game.

Her blow-by layup midway through the half stretched the lead to

60-38.

UConn’s reserves outscored Maryland’s 25-0.

It was the second win over Maryland this season for UConn. The

Huskies won by 15 points in the Jimmy V Classic in December. Thomas

had just six points in that game, and the Huskies held the Terps to

just 48 points, their lowest output this season. They also were

outrebounded 39-35, one of just five times that happened this

season.

Maryland came into the game ranked second in the nation in

rebounding margin, grabbing more than 14 more boards per game than

their opponents. They had outrebounded opponents in 32 of their 33

games.

UConn won that battle this time around 41-36.

Stefanie Dolson had 10 to go with nine points.

Maryland hit just seven of its first 23 shots, but was 4 of 7

from 3-point range during that span, and trailed just 23-20 midway

through the first half.

But 3-pointers from Bria Hartley and Kelly Faris pushed the lead

to nine, and started a 12-1 run.

The Huskies looked as if they were about to extend that further,

when Faris drove to the basket and appeared to take a hard foul.

But there was no whistle, infuriating coach Geno Auriemma, who

received a technical foul.

Thomas made one of two foul shots, then hit a jump shot that cut

the lead to nine, 35-26, at halftime.

UConn outrebounded Maryland 24-20 in the first half.

UConn is now 44-4 in NCAA Tournament games played in the state

and 8-1 in Bridgeport.

UConn’s lone blemish came against Duke in 2006 in the regional

final.

Maryland was in its 10th regional semifinal and looking to make

back-to-back trips to the regional final despite losing three

players this season to ACL injuries, including the expected

starting backcourt, guards Brene Moseley and Laurin Mincy.

UConn beat Kentucky last year 80-65 in the Kingston regional.

Kentucky forward Samarie Walker said the Wildcats view this year’s

regional as a second chance.