KML, UConn advance to Final 4 for 7th straight season
Updated 1:04 am, Tuesday, April 1, 2014
LINCOLN, Neb. -- UConn persevered in the face of multiple injuries and illness this season. And Monday it was rewarded.
Unanimous Regional Most Outstanding Player Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 17 points and seven rebounds to lead the top-seeded Huskies to a 69-54 victory over third-seeded Texas A&M Monday in the NCAA Lincoln Regional final before 7,169 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskies are heading to the Final Four for an NCAA record seventh straight season and the 15th time overall.
The Huskies (38-0) will meet either Stanford or North Carolina in the national semifinals Sunday.
"It's about taking the next step and taking accountability for our team,'' Mosqueda-Lewis said. "We're really proud to be on the team and be the ones who are continuing to help the success go forward. With injuries and with sickness, everybody was able to step up a little bit when they needed to."
Texas A&M (27-9) was seeking to advance to the Final Four for the second time in program history (2011).
The win keeps UConn in play for a second double national championship (2004). The men's basketball team reached the Final Four Sunday.
"That's awesome,'' Hartley said. "There's just so much pride at UConn right now I think. All the fans, all the students and everyone's just really rooting for us. So it's a really good time for UConn basketball.''
Stefanie Dolson added 14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and a career-high eight blocks for the Huskies. Bria Hartley had 14 points, four assists and two steals, while Breanna Stewart finished with 13 points, three rebounds and four assists.
"I think it's awesome,'' Hartley said about the program's return to the Final Four. "Any time we get to a Final Four and just kind of the way we played (Monday), it wasn't easy. Texas A&M played a great game and we kind of had to grind it out again. That's what happens when you get closer and closer to a national championship. So I think we're just excited and any time we get to go the Final Four we're always really, really excited.''
Moriah Jefferson contributed 11 points, six rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
Courtney Walker had 14 points and five rebounds to lead the Aggies.
Hartley, Dolson, Walker and Courtney Williams of Texas A&M were named to the All-Regional team.
"This is where we wanted to get back to,'' Stewart said. "We wanted to get back to the Final Four because this is where we're going to have a shot at the national championship.''
STAR OF THE GAME: Dolson. She had 14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and eight blocks in 39 minutes. It was her 13th double-double this season.
KEYS TO THE WIN: Trailing 11-4 with 13:48 left in the half, the Huskies a 26-6 run. The Huskies scored 10 straight points to end the run. ... Leading 40-37 with 15:08 left in the game, the Huskies scored the next 10 points. ... Kiah Stokes had seven rebounds and one block in 15 minutes off the bench. .. The Huskies had 10 blocks.
WORTH NOTING: Dolson, Hartley and Stewart were named to the United States Basketball Writers Association All-America team Monday. ... Dolson tied the national record by making her 150th career start. Kayla Pedersen started 150 games at Stanford from 2007-08 through 2010-11. .... With 313 blocks, the Huskies have set an NCAA single-season record. Baylor's had 310 in 40 games in 2001-12. ... Mosqueda-Lewis has reached double figures in scoring in all 15 career NCAA tournament games. ...The Huskies have won 44 straight games dating to a 61-59 loss to Notre Dame in the Big East tournament final March 12, 2013. ... The Huskies improved to 15-5 all-time in NCAA tournament regional semifinals. ... The Huskies are 95-17 (.848) all-time in NCAA tournament play. ... Stewart has scored in double figures in a career-high 29 straight games. ... Hartley scored in double figures in a career-high 22 straight games.
UP NEXT: NCAA national semifinals vs. Stanford/North Carolina-winner Sunday at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn., TBA (ESPN)
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