UConn 94, DePaul 61
It was a game for the first five minutes between the #2 seed and third ranked UConn Huskies (28-3) and the #7 seed DePaul Blue Demons (21-11) with DePaul only trailing by three with fifteen minutes left in the first half. That was until a 16-3 run over the next five minutes pushed UConn's lead out to sixteen and the Huskies never looked back, rolling to a 94-61 quarterfinals victory in the third game of the Sunday quadruple header at the XL Center in Hartford Sunday evening. Freshman Breanna Stewart came off the bench to lead all scorers with 21 points as five Huskies hit for double figures in the romp.
Coach Geno Auriemma was pleased with his team’s performance, “I’ll say the same thing I said to our team in the locker room after the game. We played a really good basketball game. The game was well played by a lot of our players, individually and as a team.”
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (9 rbs) and Stefanie Dolson (7 rbs) each added 16, while Bria Hartley and surprise freshman starter Moriah Jefferson each chipped in with a dozen. Freshman Morgan Tuck fell a point shy of the double figures club as UConn's well balance attack wore down the Blue Demons from the ten minute mark of the first half on. The Huskies slowly built on the lead with Dolson capping the first half scoring with an offensive put back as time expired giving the Huskies a 49-23 lead at the break.
On Stewart’s performance Auriemma said, “I had an inkling that (Stewart) would play better today than she has in a while because she’s practiced a lot better this week than she has in a while.”
It was the second meeting of the year between the two schools with the Huskies crushing the Blue Demons 91-44 a month ago in Storrs.
Things didn't get any better for the Blue Demons in the second half as UConn would eventually take a 39 point lead with 12:16 to play. DePaul answered with a 16-2 run that barely made a dent in the Huskies lead trimming the Huskies advantage to 73-48 with with just under eight to play.
UConn dominated in every phase of the game out-rebounding DePaul by 14 while shooting almost 52% from the floor.
UConn is seeking its' sixth straight and final Big East Tournament championship as the Huskies will be part of the new tentatively named America 12 Conference in the 2013-2014 season...The Huskies have won fifteen straight Big East tournament games...A championship this season would give UConn nineteen overall...Next up for the Huskies are the Orange of Syracuse in the second semi-final game with a scheduled tip time of 8:30 p.m. in Hartford Monday night...UConn knocked off Syracuse in their only meeting of the year, 87-62, in Hartford on January 19
Louisville 62, St John's 55
In the Sunday afternoon opener #4 seed and 13th ranked (AP) Louisville (24-7) held off a pesky #5 seed St John's squad 62-55 in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference Tournament. Sara Hammond led all scorers posting a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Bria Smith chipped in 14 and point guard Shoni Schimmel added eight points while dishing out six assists for the Cardinals. St John's (18-12) took 24-21 lead into the half and both teams battled before Louisville was able to pull away late. Shenneika Smith paced the Red Storm with 19 while Nadirah McKenith added 18 for St John's. Louisville will face off against Notre Dame, 75-66 winners over South Florida, Monday night at 6 p.m. in the first semi-final matchup.
Notre Dame 75, South Florida 66
The second ranked (AP) and tournament #1 seed Notre Dame (29-1)survived a scare in the quarterfinals as a determined South Florida Bulls (21-10) squad had upset on their minds before a 10-1 run midway through the second extended a one point Notre Dame lead and the Big East Coach of the Year Muffit McGraw’s Fighting Irish staved off the Bulls, 75-66, to advance to the Big East Conference Tournament semis Monday night against #4 seed and 13th ranked (AP) Louisville. Natalie Achonwa was huge scoring 20 and pulling down a career high 20 rebounds in the win. Big East Player of the Year Skylar Diggins added 15 as the Irish notched a school record 24th straight victory. It was the second time this year the Bulls gave the Irish all they could handle, dropping 75-71 overtime decision to Notre Dame in Tampa in early January.
McGraw gave South Florida their due, “Anytime you make shots you can beat anybody. That’s the key for any team offensively. To make ten three’s, it was like playing Villanova. We lost them for a second, they’d hit a shot. We’d put our hands down for a second, they’d hit a shot. I think they’re a great team.”
Syracuse 61, Villanova 56
Third seeded and 24th ranked (AP) Orange defeated #6 seed Villanova 61-56 in the nightcap of the Big East quarterfinals at the XL Center in Hartford Sunday evening. The game capped the days quadruple header with the second ranked and #2 seed UConn Huskies waiting in the wings for the Orange Monday at 8:30 p.m. Kayla Alexander scored 18 of her career high 34 points in the second half. Alexander was the only Syracuse player to hit for double figures. The Orange will be looking to avenge an 87-62 loss to the Huskies in Hartford back on January 19.
Rachel Roberts and Taylor Holeman each scored 14 and Caroline Coyer added 11 for Villanova in the loss