Lady Monarchs Fall 78-63 To Conneticut Huskies in NCAA Sweet Sixteen
March 30, 2008
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Freshman Maya Moore had 25 points and 11 rebounds in her second straight 20-point postseason performance to lead top-seeded UConn past Old Dominion 78-63 in a Greensboro Regional semifinal Sunday.
"When you play teams that you aren't really familiar with, it's hard to get a feel for" them, Moore said. "Maybe at times, they've lost me, and I'm getting open 3s. It's something that I've been doing throughout the season, and I'm going to continue to try to do (it).
"I'm not going to lose confidence just because we're in the tournament," she added. "I'm going to keep trying to score and attack teams (because) as we go on, the road's going to get tougher and tougher."
Renee Montgomery added 13 points for the Huskies (35-1), who never trailed, shot 47.5 percent and put the game away with a 20-1 run early in the second half. They earned their 14th straight victory, beat the Lady Monarchs for the second time this season and claimed their third straight berth in the round of eight.
Next up for coach Geno Auriemma's powerhouse program: second-seeded Rutgers, which beat George Washington 53-42 in the other semifinal, with a spot in the Final Four on the line. UConn and Rutgers split in their two meetings during the Big East Conference season.
Tiffany Green had 15 points and 10 rebounds for fifth-seeded Old Dominion (31-5), which went 6 1/2 minutes between field goals and held the Huskies without a field goal for the final 9 1/2 minutes. That too-little-too-late rally made the final score respectable in its first regional appearance since 2002 - when UConn beat the Lady Monarchs in the Mideast Regional finals.
"This is a perfect storm," Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry said. "They are so deep, and their transition game is so good. ... You have to play a perfect game to compete with them."
The unquestioned star of this one was Moore, who took the Big East by storm in winning the league's player of the year as a newcomer.
Coming off a 24-point game in a second-round win against Texas, Moore nearly had her 11th double-double by halftime, heading to the break with 12 points and seven rebounds.
"When you think about some of the great players in the women's game ... when it's all said and done, Maya Moore will be one of those people because she's so transitional, she can play inside and out, she's got that 3-point jump shot in transition down pat," Larry said. "Not only does she have size, not only does she have athleticism, she's an arsenal of weapons."
Her latest huge game propelled the Huskies to their third straight double-digit victory - their two previous tournament wins came by an average of 38 points - and helped them take the next step toward their first Final Four appearance since winning the 2004 national championship, the fifth in school history.
Charde Houston, Tina Charles and Brittany Hunter scored 10 points each for the Huskies, who had two players suffer minor injuries. Coach Geno Auriemma said Charles (shoulder) and Montgomery (twisted ankle) most likely will play in Tuesday night's game.
"I'll examine it a little bit later, and fix what needs to be fixed," Auriemma said.
The Huskies took command of this one early in the second half, moments after Old Dominion made it a single-digit game for the last time on a 3-pointer 30 seconds in by leading scorer T.J. Jordan. It was her only basket of the game.
Moore answered with a 3 of her own from the top of the key, pushing the lead into double figures for good.
"If they score on us, we score on them," Moore said. "It's never, 'They score, we don't."'
Hunter hit layups on three straight possessions to begin the onslaught the Lady Monarchs couldn't overcome. UConn scored on nine of 12 trips down the floor during the run, which was capped by Montgomery's acrobatic three-point play that made it 63-37 with 13:23 remaining.
By the time Jasmine Parker ended the drought by knocking down a jumper from the free-throw line, the lead had grown to an insurmountable 26 points - much to the chagrin of the scarlet-clad Rutgers fans who tweaked their bitter Big East rivals by taping paper "ODU" signs to their shirts and temporarily adopting the Lady Monarchs as their own.
Jessica Canady had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Monarchs. Jordan, who made just one of her five shots, wasn't the only scorer to struggle against a Huskies defense that forced 15 turnovers and held Old Dominion to 38.8 percent shooting.
Shahida Williams added 10 points but was just 5-of-14 from the floor, and Jazzmin Walters - the heroine of the Lady Monarchs' second-round upset of Virginia - finished with five on 2-of-9 shooting. The Lady Monarchs had only one of their five assists in the second half.
"Transition defense is a lot more difficult when you're taking quick shots and you're not probably working together as well as you work together," Larry said. "We really did not shoot the ball well today, and we didn't play together very well today."