Moore scored 16 of her 25 points in
the opening nine minutes and seemingly invincible UConn took it from there
to roll over Iowa State 74-36 in a regional semifinal Sunday.
"Connecticut is certainly as good as
advertised," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "I don't think I've
had a whipping like that since I was a little kid and I broke something
of my mom's."
Kelly Faris came off the bench for 16
points and Tina Charles also had 16 for the Huskies (36-0), who extended
their unprecedented winning streak to 75 in a row.
The Huskies have won their first three
games in the tournament by a combined 148 points — the most ever. UConn
easily surpassed the previous mark of 131 it set in 2000 and 2001.
A frequently overlooked strength of
the Huskies — team defense — was evident. Iowa State came in shooting 43
percent from the field but made just 15 of 53 shots for 28 percent. The
Cyclones, one of the nation's pre-eminent 3-point-shooting teams, were
rattled into going just 6-of-25 behind the arc, with most of the damage
they did do behind the arc coming after the game was all but over.
"I know it sounds like a broken record
from me, but going into today's game I wasn't really sure how we were
going to keep them from making a bunch of 3s," UConn coach Geno Auriemma
said. "I can't tell you how well this group played defensively, how
they locked into the scouting report and how well they prepared. They
just played exceptionally well defensively."
Anna Prins scored 10 points for Iowa
State (25-8), which fell far short of duplicating the biggest win in
program history. The Cyclones had stunned top-seeded UConn 64-58 in the
regional semis in 1999.
Not this time. The outcome was never
in doubt after Moore hit her first four 3-pointers. She's hit 12 of her
17 3-pointers so far this tournament.
"[The Huskies] are the best team I
think I've seen," said Iowa State star guard Alison Lacey, who had nine
points, seven under her average.
Connecticut advances to its fifth
straight regional championship game and 10th in 11 years. The Huskies
will meet the winner of third-seeded Florida State and seventh-seeded
Mississippi State. The Huskies played at Florida State on Dec. 28 and
raced to a 78-59 win over the Seminoles.
Like many of the 74 before it, the
latest UConn win was decided early.
The first time Moore touched the ball
on offense she hit a 3 from the top of the key. The second time, she
hit a 3 from the left corner. And the rout was on.
"It's critical for us to get off to a
good start," Moore said. "We always want to be the team to score first.
We always want to find our shooters. Coach always says the moment you
see daylight and you're open, knock it down."
She made all four attempts behind the
arc in the opening 8:45 as the Huskies took a 22-10 lead — and then she
went out for the rest of the half. The lead was in safe hands, with
Faris scoring eight points and generally being a pest at both ends of
the court. Moore didn't play in the final 10:36 of the half but still
outscored the Cyclones 16-14 by the break.
The Huskies even pulled away with one
of their biggest stars resting on the bench. Moore's 3-pointer at the
11:15 mark touched off an 18-2 run with Faris and Charles each scoring
Ten seconds into the second half,
Moore hit a 15-foot baseline jumper. By the time she left the game for
good with more than nine minutes left, she had 25 points to Iowa State's
21. It wasn't until just 5:55 remained before the Cyclones in 34 minutes
scored more points than Moore did in 25.
"You don't have to convince any of us
guards to shoot the 3 ball when we get a wide-open look," Moore said
with a smile.
The Huskies also shut down the
Cyclones inside, outrebounding them 47-32 and limiting them to 18 points
in the paint. Iowa State never shot a free throw, either.
"Iowa State is much better, way
better than they looked today," Auriemma said.
But that's what happens to every good
team, it seems, that faces UConn.
Here's a scary prospect for upcoming
opponents: Most of the Huskies did not have vintage days at the
offensive end. Charles was just 5-of-13 and fellow starters Kalana
Greene (2-of-6), Tiffany Hayes (1-of-8) and Caroline Doty (1-of-5) also
The Huskies shot just 39 percent from
Now 74-15 in NCAA play, the Huskies
have won their last nine NCAA tournament games and 13 of 14. The only
loss is an 82-73 setback to Stanford in the national semifinals in 2008.
So good are the Huskies that their
chief competitors now may be the great UConn and Tennessee teams of the
past, according to Fennelly, who has won 498 games in his 22 years as a
"[UConn] is arguably the best team
I've ever seen," he said, shaking his head.
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