Monday, March 9, 2009

UConn Women Semifinal Live Blog

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Welcome to the XL Center for tonight's UConn-Villanova semifinal. The Huskies are looking to build on Sunday's devastating rout of South Florida in the quarterfinal, but Villanova, the surprise team in the conference, always gives UConn trouble. The Wildcats have some history in busting up undefeated seasons, knocking off the Huskies in the 2003 final at Rutgers.

Look for a different outcome tonight. Too much firepower for the Huskies.


UConn 72-42, Final: 46-16 over the final 25:15.

UConn 67-40, 3:28: The benches are in and the finals are next, Tuesday night against either Louisville or Pittsburgh. UConn beat Louisville by 28 points on Jan. 26 and beat the Panthers by 53 on Feb. 15.

UConn 56-30, 11:41 left: The run is now 30-4 as Villanova can't even beat the shot clock anymore. Two straight possessions without hitting the rim and UConn leading by 26. The removal of the UConn starters is already underway.

UConn 49-28, 14:47: Moore has eight points in the half and 17 for the game. The Huskies are on a 10-0 run and 23-2 since Villanova tied it up with 5:35 left in the first half. Moore has 12 of the 23 points.

UConn 43-28, 17:08: UConn is asserting control now, shutting down the Villanova offense, while Maya Moore continues to score. Moore now has 13 to take the team lead from Charles.

UConn has a 30-2 advantage in the paint and a 10-0 spread on the fastbreak. Villanova is 6-for-14 on threes, but only 1-for-8 outside that one, four-minute stretch in the first half. And that's the story of your ballgame, so far.


UConn 37-26, Halftime: UConn ends the half on an 11-0 run, with Tina Charles scoring four of her 12 points to end the scoring. UConn is exploiting their obvious advantage in the paint, and the Wildcats are no longer hitting from long range.

3:09: Oh my, Maya! Moore just sent Lisa Carcic's three-point attempt from in front of the UConn bench back into the seats. What a block. Moore could easily have dunked her breakaway a moment ago. Ketia Swanier's father might be right: He told me in the summer of 2007 that Moore would make UConn fans forget Diana Taurasi. Diana who?

UConn 33-26, 3:34: Villanova's three-point barrage continues, with O'Connor hitting from the top of the key with 5:35 left to tie score at 26-26. It's the fifth three-pointer in six attempts for Villanova. But Maya Moore answers with her own three-pointer, then makes a breakaway layup off a turnover for a five-point lead. Kalana Greene scores on another fastbreak, and the Villanova uprising is quashed.

UConn 24-20, 7:31: And just like that, Villanova is back in it. Tia Grant hits a pair of threes and Karcic adds another and the lead is down to four. Villanova's only chance tonight is make its threes and limit the Huskies' possessions. That's what's happened the past three minutes. The question is, can Villanova keep hitting them?

UConn 22-11, 9:57: Tina Charles has come to play tonight. She blocks a shot at one end, then converts a third-chance offensive rebounds into a basket. Charles leads all scorers with eight points.

UConn 20-11, 11:29: So far, I've counted five times the Villanova bench has shouted out the final eight seconds of the shot clock -- 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3! Such is the nature of the deliberate Villanova offense. It worked for a short while, with Siobhan O'Conner hitting a three-pointer to make it 12-9 with 14:27 left. But UConn got its fastbreak in gear for an 8-2 run and their first sizable lead. Maya Moore had a Jordan-esque layup on the break, craning her arm out in front of her as she swooped in for a layup. Pretty stuff.

UConn 12-6, 14:54 remaining: The Huskies are making their living in the paint, with Tina Charles scoring an early four points and Kalana Greene converting a nice three-point play. The Huskies are all over the offensive glass, which set Renee Montgomery up for an easy three-pointer.

Villanova is Villanova and that means working the clock and making the Huskies play defense. For the most part, the Huskies have not been bothered, although Lisa Karcic did hit a baseline jumper at the 30-second clock to make it 12-6 with 15:16 left in the half.

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