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UConn women rout Kentucky

| Monday, April 1, 2013, 10:00 p.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review
West Mifflin's A.J. Olasz delivers against Penn-Trafford on Monday, April 1, 2013, at West Mifflin Field.

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Connecticut is headed back to a familiar place: the Final Four.

Breanna Stewart scored 21 points, and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 17 to help top-seed UConn rout Kentucky, 83-53, on Monday night and advance to a record sixth-straight national semifinal.

UConn (33-4) broke a tie with Stanford (2008-12), LSU (2004-08) and itself (2000-04) by reaching the Final Four again.

It was the second straight season that UConn beat Kentucky in the regional finals. The Huskies topped the Wildcats by 15 last year 105 miles to the north of Bridgeport in Kingston, R.I.

This game wasn't as close. Kentucky stayed close for the first 10 minutes with their “40 minutes of dread” defense. Then UConn turned up its own defensive intensity.

The Huskies trailed, 23-22, with just 9 minutes left in the first half. That's when Stewart — honored as the outstanding player of the Bridgeport Regional — and UConn's “no-name” defense took over, allowing three points the rest of the half. Kentucky missed 13 of its final 14 shots in the half with the only make coming when Jelleah Sidney banked in a 3-pointer from the wing.

While UConn was playing lockdown defense, Stewart was dominating on the offensive end. The 6-foot-4 star, who was the national high school player of the year last season, scored nine points and had a vicious two-handed block during that closing run.

Spokane Regional

California 65, Georgia 62 (OT) — In Spokane, Wash., Layshia Clarendon scored 17 of her 25 points in the second half and overtime, and California (32-3) rallied from down 10 with less than 7 minutes left in regulation to advance to the Final Four for the first time in school history.

Clarendon and the second-seeded Golden Bears became the first team from the western U.S. other than Stanford to reach the Final Four since Long Beach State in 1988.

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