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Women's Basketball: UConn survives Cinderella, advances to Elite Eight

By Matt Stypulkoski
On March 29, 2014

  • UConn forward DeAndre Daniels goes to the hoop against Iowa State Friday night at Madison Square Garden. JESS CONDON/The Daily Campus
  • UConn forward DeAndre Daniels goes to the hoop against Iowa State Friday night at Madison Square Garden. JESS CONDON/The Daily Campus

LINCOLN, Neb. - When No. 12 BYU and No. 1 UConn met up in the third round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament Saturday, both were looking for their own shot at history. But only one could keep that dream alive and it was the Huskies who did so, albeit scratching and clawing, with a 70-51 win.
"I knew this was going to be like this," Geno Auriemma said. "I knew it was going to be this kind of game and it was going to be difficult. They're not an easy matchup."
UConn led just 30-29 at halftime, its smallest lead at the break this season, but a 10-0 stretch over 1:50 early in the second half provided some breathing room.
For the second straight game, Kaleena Mosqeuda-Lewis was the driving force. The junior forward, who recorded UConn's third-ever triple-double in the second round, picked up 19 points and hit the glass hard to grab 13 rebounds. It was the first time in her career that Mosqueda-Lewis' recorded back-to-back double-doubles.
"I was just trying to get in there as much as possible," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "Just trying to get us second-chance shots because I knew we weren't knocking down the shots that we usually do."
The Cinderella Cougars, equipped with 6-foot-7 Jennifer Hamson down low, frustrated UConn throughout the first half. Though part of the Huskies' slim one-point lead at the half had to do with their 0-for-8 shooting behind the arc, BYU was equally responsible in limiting its mistakes - and covering up for those they did make.
In the first 20 minutes, the Cougars turned the ball over 10 times but limited UConn to just seven points off of those miscues. They also limited the Huskies to just 35.5 percent shooting from the floor.
While UConn still struggled to hit from behind the arc after the half - they finished 3 of 19 - it managed to shoot 49 percent from two-point range and use 13 offensive rebounds in the second half to its advantage.
"I thought we showed a lot of what we are that second half," Auriemma said. "When it came time to make plays, we made every play we needed to make and every rebound we needed to get. We were able to, even with a bad shooting night, beat a really, really good team."
UConn's win continued its search of a record ninth national championship, but snuffed out the Cougars bid to become the lowest seed to ever reach the Elite Eight in the women's tournament.
"It seemed like we got a little tired in the second half and weren't quite as sharp," BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. "But I'm really proud of these young ladies, they've had a great year, they've had something they can look back and be very proud of."
Kim Beeston scored a team-high 16 points for the Cougars (28-7).
It had been a while since the last game the Huskies truly struggled. In fact, when BYU climbed on top 31-30 on the first possession after halftime, it was UConn's first second-half deficit of the season.
The Huskies (37-0) continue on to the Elite Eight for the ninth straight year and will face No. 3 Texas A&M Monday at 9:30 p.m. 
 


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