Charde Houston had 13 points and 11 rebounds and top-ranked Connecticut held off No. 23 Louisville, 65-59, last night in Hartford to win the Big East tournament championship.
It was UConn's 14th title, including three of the last four. The Huskies have won the regular season and tournament championships 12 times in the same season - last in 2001-02.
"It's a good feeling to know these particular players were able to do something that hasn't been done in a long time," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Winning six games in the NCAA Tournament is part talent, part experience, and getting a couple of breaks. We've put ourselves in a position to do that."
Renee Montgomery led UConn (32-1) with 20 points. She was only 4-for-19 shooting, but was 11 for 11 from the foul line down the stretch. Maya Moore added 13 points.
It was seventh-seeded Louisville's first trip to the championship game. The Cardinals (24-9), who joined the Big East three seasons ago, were knocked out in the semifinals last year by the Huskies. Louisville was trying to become only the second team in conference history to win four games in four days. Boston College did it in 2004 as a five-seed.
Louisville had won 10 of its last 11 games, including Sunday's 57-56 upset of No. 7 Rutgers and Monday's 67-60 win over No. 16 West Virginia. It marked the first time in school history the Cardinals have beaten ranked opponents in back-to-back games. They beat St. John's in the opening round.
Angel McCoughtry led Louisville with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Brandie Raddie added 12 points and Candyce Bingham had 11 points and 14 rebounds as the Cardinals outrebounded the Huskies, 50-42.
Trailing, 42-26, early in the second half, Louisville went on a 21-6 run over the next nine minutes to come within 48-47 on Patrika Barlow's 3-pointer from the corner. Radde hit two 3-pointers during the spurt.
UConn responded by scoring the next 5 points on Houston's layup and Montgomery's three free throws to make it 53-47 with 3:54 left. Louisville wasn't done as Bingham scored the next 4 points to cut the deficit to 2 with 2:22 left.
The Cardinals would get no closer as UConn hit 13 of 15 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Big 12 - Alyssa Hollins scored 10 points in overtime to help Missouri upset No. 13 Oklahoma (21-8, 11-6 Big 12), 70-64, in the first round at Kansas City, Mo.
The Tigers (10-20, 2-14), who finished last in the conference, became the first 12 seed to advance past the first round. They will face fourth-seeded Texas A&M today.
A 3-pointer by Amanda Hanneman with 15 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime.
Sun Belt final - Kenzie Rich scored 18 points to lead Western Kentucky to the conference title and an automatic NCAA bid with a 65-49 win over Middle Tennessee in Mobile, Ala.
The Lady Hilltoppers earned their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2003 and their ninth Sun Belt Conference title.
Summit final - Rachel Watman scored 23 points as Oral Roberts (19-13) beat IUPUI, 66-53, to win the league championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
Horizon final - Mike Green matched his career high with 24 points and No. 12 Butler used a big second-half run to beat Cleveland State, 70-55, at Indianapolis for its fifth league championship and first automatic berth in the NCAAs since 2001.
Butler (29-3) blew a 14-point lead in the first half but pulled away again midway through the second half and took a 60-44 lead with 6 minutes to go on consecutive 3-pointers by Drew Streicher and reserve Zach Hahn.
J'Nathan Bullock, who led Cleveland State (21-12) with 21 points, scored the next 5 for the Vikings, but they never came closer than 13 points the rest of the game.
Sun Belt final - Jeremy Evans scored 20 points and collected 14 rebounds to lead Western Kentucky (27-6) to a 67-57 victory over Middle Tennessee State at Mobile, Ala., to claim the conference crown an NCAA berth.
Summit final - Moses Ehambe hit seven 3-pointers and scored 25 points, and Oral Roberts beat IUPUI, 71-64, in Tulsa, Okla., to win its third straight league title and earn an NCAA berth.