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.