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UConn routs Oregon, heads to 10th straight Final Four

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Author: APTue, 2017-03-28 15:02ID: 1490691810675685500BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut: Napheesa Collier scored 28 points, Gabby Williams had 25, and UConn advanced to its 10th consecutive Final Four with a 90-52 victory against Oregon on Monday night.Top-seeded UConn (36-0) will face Mississippi State on Friday night in Dallas in the national semifinals. It was the Huskies’ 111th consecutive victory and moved coach Geno Auriemma past Pat Summitt for the most NCAA tournament victories with 113.The Huskies jumped all over 10th-seeded Oregon (23-14), which had made an impressive run through the NCAA tournament.Leading 6-4, UConn scored 17 consecutive points. Saniya Chong got the game-changing burst started with consecutive 3-pointers. Nearly 4½ minutes later, she capped the burst with a layup that made the score 23-4.Oregon closed to 34-21 midway through the second quarter, but UConn put away the game by scoring 15 of the final 18 points of the half.The Huskies had several questions heading into their first season since losing their big three of Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck to graduation. But they have answered every test, turning away every challenge while remaining unbeaten.Now UConn has a new trio leading the way. Collier and fellow sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson were honored as AP All-Americans on Monday with Williams, a junior, making the second team.“They’ve owned the whole month of March, they weren’t just along for the ride,” Auriemma said. “It’s theirs and that’s a huge step. That’s a big step to go from riding in the backseat on a trip you’re going to, to all of a sudden you’re in charge of driving the bus; you’re responsible for getting us there.”The Huskies head to Dallas just two wins from a fifth consecutive title and 12th overall.“There were a lot of question marks going into the season and maybe they didn’t have any in their own minds,” said Auriemma. “They seemed to answer every single one of those questions.”Oregon’s future is bright. Coach Kelly Graves’ team is led by outstanding freshmen Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard and Mallory McGwire. The trio combined to average 36.8 points this season. Ionescu led the way against UConn with 15 points.The Duck upset seventh-seeded Temple, No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Maryland to get to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. The Ducks were trying to become the first double-digit seed to reach the Final Four.“I just think all of it is part of the process,” said Graves. “A run like this will make it easier to motivate our team in the offseason. Our goal is to host the first and second round and not to make two trips across the country. Those things will really help us and give these guys confidence that they can win in the tournament.”Oregon had 22 turnovers, including 17 in the first half, which led to 38 points for the Huskies.“The turnovers doomed us right from the get-go,” Graves said. “That defensive pressure set the tone.”The win was UConn’s 135th consecutive against an unranked opponent. The Huskies have won 310 of their past 311 against non-Top 25 teams. The lone loss came against St. John’s in 2012. Since the 1993-94 season, UConn is 587-9 against unranked teams.The victory also gave Chong and Tierney Lawlor 152 wins at UConn, the most in the history of the NCAA for a senior class. They have only one loss.
Main category: Sports

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