Sunday, March 8, 2009

UConn Women Big East Quarterfinal Live Blog

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Welcome to the XL Center, where the top-ranked Huskies will attempt to keep their perfect season alive at the Big East tournament. Today, UConn takes on No. 8 seed South Florida, who knocked off plucky 16-seed Cincinnati 68-58 Saturday afternoon.

Maya Moore has just been introduced as the Big East player of the year and Geno Auriemma as coach of the year. The three-day coronation begins ...


UConn 79-42, Final. Second half ends in a 32-32 tie. Just sayin'

UConn 68-33, 8:09: Geno takes the starters out. Villanova is next, tommorow night at 6 p.m. in the semifinals.

UConn 52-18, 15:42: We got to 50-10, and then the Bulls decided to show a little bit of pride, going on an 8-2 run to nearly match their entire first-half output. The big news for UConn today is the play of Kalana Greene and Tina Charles, who are both active and productive, giving the Huskies four unstoppable options. If those two continue at this level the next eight games, it's all over.

Two minutes to the start of the second half and USF hasn't returned to the court. Maybe they left at halftime. ... Nope, still here. They emerged, dazed-looking, with 45 seconds before the buzzer. No warmups, except for the bus.

Here's a heck of a halftime note: The 10 points UConn allowed in the first half is its fewest ever in a Big East tournament game. ... Maya Moore already has a double-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds. ... Kalana Greene already has a season-high 18 points and needs eight more for a new career high. She's made 8 of 9 shots and has eight rebounds. ... UConn has a 34-11 rebounding edge, 22-9 on the offensive glass and 13-0 second-chance points. ... USF shot 3-for-27. UConn: 18-for-36.


UConn 47-10, Halftime: Lorin Dixon caps a ridiculous first half with a nifty stop-and-pop with 1.6 seconds left. This is what it was like when I covered the team full-time at the beginning of the decade, with Sue and Swin and Diana. Just a total domination right now.

UConn 38-8, 3:47: The lead topped out at 38-5 with 4:23 left on Kaili McLaren's foul line jumper. Janae Stokes hit South Florida's first three-pointer with 4:01 left to end the 13-0 run. USF hit 14 threes on Saturday.

UConn 34-5, 5:53: A scare for the Huskies in an otherwise splendid afternoon: Tiffany Hayes went down after trying to draw an offensive foul and had to be helped to the sideline, before heading to the locker room. Either she got her bell rung, or may have hurt an arm or a hand. It was tough to tell exactly what happened from our vantage point. Meanwhile, Kalana Greene has 14 points.

UConn 28-5, 8:42: Finally! USF scores a field goal on a basket by Porche Grant. But Moore answers with a three-pointer to push the lead to 23.

UConn 25-3, 9:23: USF 0-for-13. UConn 24-7 rebounding edge. Maya Moore: 11 rebounds.

UConn 20-1, 11:57: Total dominaton. There are no second shots for the Bulls, who just went into the penalty with their seventh foul, so UConn will be shooting plenty this half. The last UConn basket was a thing of beauty. Maya Moore passed to Kaili McLaren at the high post, cut around her to the basket and McLaren hit her with a perfect pass under the basket, where Moore flipped the ball up and in before losing her balance on the hard cut. No defense for that.

UConn 18-1, 14:20: UConn is controlling the defensive backboard and the fastbreak is starting to click. Kalana Greene scored six straight points before Moore hits two free throws for a 17-point lead.

UConn 12-1, 15:38: It's ugly early for USF. The Bulls are 0-for-4 from the field and UConn has an 11-2 rebound advantage. Yesterday, South Florida took an early 11-point lead and still needed to scrape past No. 16 Cincinnati. Now they're down 11 to the best team in the nation. Not good.

UConn is only 4-for-13 from the field and Montgomery seems to be playing a half-click too fast in the early going. She's forced up a couple of shots and misfired a pass to Moore on a fastbreak. Once she settles in, this one is really over.

UConn 10-0, 16:43: Charles off to an agressive start. UConn's offense is going through Charles so far, and she has been active on the offensive glass, turning a put-back into a three-point play for the 10-0 lead.

UConn 7-0, 18:19 remaining: Moore and Renee Montgomery, the de facto runner-up for player of the year, get the Huskies started quickly. Moore hits a wing jumper and Montgomery buries a three in the game's first minute. Tina Charles' basket forces a quick timeout by Jose Fernandez.

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