Moore scored 16 of her 25 points in the opening 9 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 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.
Florida St. 74, Mississippi St. 71
DAYTON, Ohio — Moments after her team had pulled off the biggest win in Florida State history, coach Sue Semrau was already facing questions about her team’s next opponent.
So, Semrau was asked, is Connecticut the greatest team of all time?
“I haven’t been around for all-time, so I can’t tell you if they’re the greatest team of all-time,” she said, clearly put off.
Courtney Ward scored the third-seeded Seminoles’ last six points in the final 38 seconds, leading the way to a 74-71 victory over No. 7 seed Mississippi State on Sunday in the Dayton Regional semifinal.
Florida State (29-5) advanced to meet No. 1-seeded UConn (36-0), which beat Iowa State in the earlier semi, in Tuesday night’s regional final. The Huskies rolled to a 78-59 win when they met earlier in the season.
After Semrau and her players spoke briefly about their big victory, Semrau was asked about that earlier game against the Huskies and whether it might leave the Seminoles intimidated.
“If I put myself in the heads of 18- to 22-year-olds who have watched Connecticut annihilate people, I think there’d be trepidation,” she said. “We haven’t just watched it; we’ve been there in a game with UConn. And that will help us in our approach.”
To reach the showdown with Connecticut, Florida State had to summon up a gutsy effort, particularly in the closing moments. Then the Seminoles, who got 21 points from Alysha Harvin and 14 from Ward, celebrated by dousing their coach with water in the dressing room.
“Actually, the whole team got Coach,” Ward said with a guilty grin.
Oklahoma 77, Notre Dame 72, OT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nyeshia Stevenson made a 3-pointer with 4.4 seconds left in overtime and third-seeded Oklahoma knocked off second-seeded Notre Dame 77-72 in overtime Sunday night to reach the regional finals for the second year in a row.
Stevenson had 21 points and Abi Olajuwon added 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Sooners (26-10), who lost to Notre Dame in overtime in the second round in 2008.
Oklahoma muffed a chance to win at the end of regulation, as Danielle Robinson slipped 30 feet from the basket. But in OT, Stevenson calmly drilled a 3 from the corner that proved to be the winner.