Huskies perfectly content
They throttle Arizona St. to reach the Final Four
TRENTON, N.J. - The Connecticut express is headed to St. Louis for the Final Four, a trip the perfect Huskies have seemed destined to make all season.
Maya Moore scored 25 points and undefeated UConn beat Arizona State, 83-64, last night to advance to the national semifinals for the second straight season and ninth time in the last 14 years.
Renee Montgomery added 22 points for the Huskies (37-0), who will face Stanford Sunday in a rematch of last season's national semifinal. The Cardinal won that game before losing in the final to Tennessee.
"I said last year we'd be back," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "We are going back; it's ironic that we're playing the same team. We're pretty excited right now. It's good, it's all good."
UConn hasn't lost since falling to Stanford and is two wins from the program's third perfect season.
"They look like as good a team as last year," Auriemma said. "If we do the same thing we did last year, it's not going to be good enough. We'll have to be better than we were last season, as I think they are better."
The Huskies have entered the NCAAs unbeaten three other times. UConn went on to win the national title in 1995 and 2002. In '97, the Huskies lost to Tennessee in the regional final.
Danielle Orsillo scored 18 to lead Arizona State (26-9), which played the Huskies as competitively as just about any other opponent this season but still had its season end in the regional final for the second time in three years.
Moore broke UConn's season scoring record on a step-back 3-pointer late in the first half that gave the Huskies their first double-digit lead of the game, 34-24.
The sensational sophomore passed Kara Wolters's record of 694 points set in 1995-96. Wolters was courtside doing radio for a Connecticut station. And Moore nabbed another honor after the game, being selected the Trenton Regional's Most Outstanding Player.
UConn has been dismantling opponents this season, including beating eight ranked teams by an average of 31 points.
Arizona State tried to wear down UConn with its hockey-like substitution pattern. Coach Charli Turner Thorne put in three or four fresh players every few minutes.
It worked early as UConn struggled for the second straight game against a Pac-10 opponent. The Huskies turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and Montgomery picked up three quick fouls, sending her to the bench.
UConn led, 20-19, in a back-and-forth contest before Moore started a 9-2 run that made it 29-21 with 3:55 left in the first half.
After a 3-point play by Orsillo, Moore scored 5 straight points, including her record-breaking 3-pointer that made it 34-24. The Huskies led, 37-28, at the half.
Nia Fanaika's 3-pointer midway through the second half got ASU within 59-51.
Then Moore and Montgomery took over.