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Huskies Bridgeport Bound

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Bria Hartley (14) and Moriah Jefferson (4) in NCAA Tournament against Vanderbilt, March 25, 2013 (Robert Stowell/UConn)

Bria Hartley (14) and Moriah Jefferson (4) in NCAA Tournament against Vanderbilt, March 25, 2013 (Robert Stowell/UConn)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) _ Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 22 points and top-seeded Connecticut advanced to the regional semifinals of the women’s NCAA tournament for the 20th consecutive season with a 77-44 win over Vanderbilt on Monday night.

Freshman Breanna Stewart added 14 points and Stefanie Dolson had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Huskies (31-4), who are seeking their sixth straight trip to the Final Four and eighth national championship.

Tiffany Clarke had 16 points for Vanderbilt, which finished 21-12 but lost three of its last six games.

The Huskies led by 13 at halftime and opened the second half on a 17-0 run to put the game out of reach. UConn held Vanderbilt without a field goal for more than 7 minutes after intermission, and the Commodores missed 11 consecutive shots.Breanna Stewart,Stefanie Dolson

UConn will play Maryland in the round of 16 on Saturday. The Terrapins easily beat Michigan State 74-49.

Mosqueda-Lewis capped the big second-half run with a shot from behind the arc that made it 54-24. The basket also gave her the school record for 3-pointers in a season, surpassing Wendy Davis’ 107 in 1991-92.

She came in shooting a nation-best 50 percent from behind the arc, and 44 percent in her two seasons at UConn.

The Huskies stretched the lead past 30 on a pair of free throws by Bria Hartley.

Hartley, who failed to reach double figures for the first time in an NCAA tournament game, was on the bench to start this one. Senior Caroline Doty, playing her final game at Gampel Pavilion, got the start in her place.

UConn used a stifling defense to hold Vanderbilt without a field goal for the first 4 minutes of the game and opened on an 8-1 run.

Kendall Shaw, who averages only three points, came off the bench to hit her first three shots for the Commodores and the Huskies led just 14-9 at the second media timeout.

UConn led 25-20 before scoring 12 straight points late in the first half. Mosqueda-Lewis tied the school record for 3s during that run, turning a missed free throw by Morgan Tuck into a four-point play with her long jumper.

The Huskies led 37-24 at the half. Mosqueda-Lewis had 11 by halftime and Stewart, who sat out the opening game of the tournament with a sore left calf, had nine points.

Clarke, who averages almost 17 points and 8.5 rebounds, had nine to keep the Commodores in striking distance. But with sharp-shooter Christina Foggie (two points) limited by a knee injury, the Commodores just didn’t have the depth to stay with UConn.

Connecticut focused on stopping point guard Jasmine Lister, who averages more than 34 minutes, 12 points and five assists a game. She finished with just two points.

UConn forced the Commodores into 23 turnovers while committing 12 of their own. The Huskies also outrebounded Vanderbilt 34-24, holding Clarke to just two boards.

Connecticut (31-4), a top seed for the seventh straight season, has won 30 games for an NCAA-record eighth straight time.

The Huskies improved to 21-2 in second-round games. They have not missed a regional semifinal since losing to Louisville in the first round of the 1993 tournament.

The Commodores finished just 2-11 this season against teams with a top-50 RPI, beating Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

Vanderbilt is responsible for handing Connecticut its most lopsided NCAA Tournament defeat, 75-47, back in a 1992 second-round game. The Huskies have won the other two meetings between the two in the tournament, including a 67-57 victory in a 1997 regional semifinal.

UConn improved to 43-4 in NCAA Tournament games played in Connecticut, including 41 of their last 42. Thirty-two of those wins have come in Gampel Pavilion.

The Huskies stay in-state for the next two rounds, which will be played about 80 miles away in Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena, where the Huskies are 7-1 in previous NCAA tournaments.

 

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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