Top-ranked UConn women advance to Final Four
Top-ranked Connecticut is headed to the Women’s Final Four for the seventh year in a row. UConn beat Texas A&M 69-54 in the Lincoln Regional final.
The Associated Press
LINCOLN, Neb. – Music City is the next stop for a Connecticut women’s team seeking a record ninth national championship.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis continued her splendid run through the NCAA tournament with 17 points, and UConn advanced to the Women’s Final Four for the seventh straight year with a 69-54 victory against Texas A&M in the Lincoln Regional final Monday night.
“It’s not easy to beat anybody at this time of the year because everybody is playing their best basketball,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “We beat a pretty good team today, and I’m proud of my team. I thought we were really, really good when we needed to be really, really good.”
The defending NCAA champion Huskies (38-0) won their 44th straight game. Their semifinal opponent Sunday in Nashville, Tenn., will be either Stanford or North Carolina.
UConn’s Stefanie Dolson, who made her 150th career start to tie the NCAA record, had 14 points and 10 rebounds and blocked a career-high eight shots. Bria Hartley had 14 points, Breanna Stewart added 13 and Moriah Jefferson 11.
“It feels amazing and is really unexplainable,” Dolson said. “A lot of people around the nation can’t say they’ve made it once to the Final Four or having the opportunity to play for a national championship.
“For me to have the opportunity four times, and this being my senior year, I’m very excited.”
Courtney Walker led Texas A&M (27-9) with 14 points. Courtney Williams had 13.
Mosqueda-Lewis, an All-American last year who missed 12 games this season because of injury or illness, was named the regional’s most outstanding player.
She had a triple-double against Saint Joseph’s in the second round and 19 points and 13 rebounds against Brigham Young on Saturday. Against Texas A&M, she provided the spark after the Huskies fell behind early.
Her play made up for the slow start of American Athletic Conference player of the year Stewart, who got into early foul trouble and scored two points in the first half.
The Aggies shot 60 percent in their 84-65 victory over DePaul on Saturday, their best mark in an NCAA tournament game. They shot 35.3 percent against UConn.
Texas A&M had won its first three games in the tournament by 15 points or more, but ran into a UConn team that was too powerful, whether in transition or in the paint.
The Aggies made their first six shots of the second half to cut into UConn’s 11-point halftime lead. Jordan Jones made two threes, and after she drove to the hoop on Jefferson, Texas A&M was down 40-37.
The Huskies cranked up their transition game, went on a 10-0 spurt and outscored the Aggies 27-12 to build their lead to 18 points in the final three minutes. No team has played UConn closer than 11 points this season.
“We competed, and I thought we really had a chance when we cut it to three,” Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. “A great team just looks you in the face and says, ‘Is that all you got?’ They came down and got two easy baskets before I could call timeout.”