Friday, November 14 2014 12:21 PM EST2014-11-14 17:21:20 GMT
Stanford hoped to be a party crasher as the second-seeded Cardinal prepared to face off against the top seeded UConn Huskies Sunday night.At stake in Nashville, a trip to the national championship gameMore >>
UConn defeated Stanford 75-56 to keep its undefeated season alive Sunday night. It'll meet undefeated archrival Notre Dame Tuesday.More >>
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
Connecticut overcame a slow start shooting from the field to defeat Stanford 75-56 in the second national semifinal of the Women's Final Four at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday night.
The Huskies victory sets up the NCAA's first matchup of unbeatens for a national title. Notre Dame beat Maryland in the first semifinal.
"I think at times we were a little jumpy, getting too excited," said Connecticut's Breanna Stewart. "We had to settle down and get into the right rhythm of the game. Once we did that, it seemed like we went on a run to end the first half and shots started falling."
Connecticut (39-0) struggled to score in the first 10 minutes of the first half, hitting only five field goals while shooting 31 percent from the field.
The Huskies used a 12-0 run late in the first half to take a 28-24 lead over Stanford at halftime.
"I think we just picked up the pressure on our defense, really getting into passing lanes," said UConn's Bria Hartley. "I though Moriah (Jefferson) did a good job, got a few steals out there. One steal that [Breanna Stewart] got was awesome. It changed the momentum of the game."
Stanford hit seven of its first 12 shots while building a 16-10 lead with 12:32 left in the half. The Cardinal led 22-16 with 5:39 left after Mikaela Ruef's jumper.
Connecticut capitalized on two Stanford turnovers and defensive rebounds the last five minutes of the half while outscoring the Cardinal 12-0.
"When they went big, their size is really disruptive," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "But probably more than anything, I mean, they have very skilled players that play very well together. And they really pass and move the ball, and they screen."
Stewart finished with a game-high 18 points and seven rebounds for the Huskies.
Connecticut continued the hot shooting in the second half as it pulled away from Stanford. The Cardinal hit 60.7 percent from the field. The Huskies also used a 16-3 run to start the second half to pull away.
"I thought we really turned the ball over too much," said VanDerveer. "We really struggled. They got in passing lanes, and our pace was not fast enough."
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 15 points, all in the second half, for the Huskies. Bria Hartley scored 13, and Moriah Jefferson had 10.
Amber Orrange had 16 points to lead Stanford (33-4), Chiney Ogwumike scored 15 and Lili Thompson added 12.
Ogwumike also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for her 27th double-double of the season. She finished her Stanford career as the school's top scorer (2,737 points) and rebounder (1,567).
The two teams met in a regular season contest in December in Storrs, CT. The Huskies won the game 76-57.
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