Huskies avenge surprise ouster
UConn coach Geno Auriemma and the Huskies are headed back to a familiar spot — the Final Four.
Crystal Dangerfield led the way as top-seeded UConn routed No. 2 South Carolina 94-65 on Monday night to reach the national semifinals for a record 11th consecutive year.
While the Huskies are regular participants in the Final Four, they are not the defending champions this time around. Their 111-game winning streak and run of four straight national championships were stopped by a last-second overtime loss to Mississippi State in last year’s semifinals.
UConn will face former Big East rival Notre Dame on Friday night in Columbus.
“Every team starts the season saying that’s our goal to go to the Final Four. For us, it’s an opportunity to go back to where we felt like we didn’t really give our best effort,” Auriemma said. “We lost to a really good team.
“Happened in a way that was really, really disappointing. I know that we were anxious to go back and put ourselves in that same situation and see how much we’ve changed since last year.”
The Albany Regional final featured the past two NCAA champions in a rare occurrence for the women’s tournament. The Huskies (36-0) quickly turned it into a mismatch with stellar 3-point shooting.
Dangerfield scored 19 of her 21 points in the first half. Gabby Williams had 23 points as UConn scored the most points in school history for this round of the NCAA Tournament.
Notre Dame 84, Oregon 74
Kathryn Westbeld scored 20 points, Jessica Shepard added 18 and Notre Dame reached the Final Four for the eighth time in school history.
Westbeld came up with the biggest game of her Notre Dame career despite being slowed by an ankle injury from the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Westbeld had scored a combined 12 points in the previous four games, but she teamed with Shepard for an inside attack that hurt the Ducks.