Top-seeded UConn and second-seeded Kentucky will meet in the NCAA regional final for the second straight season tonight. The Huskies earned an 80-65 win in Kingston, R.I. last season.
Regional Most Outstanding Player Tiffany Hayes had 22 points (9-of-11 FT), eight rebounds and three steals to lead UConn to its 13th Final Four appearance. The Huskies had five players in double figures in scoring in a game that featured 42 fouls and 57 free throws.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 18 points and seven rebounds for UConn. Stefanie Dolson had 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Bria Hartley had 13 points (9-of-10 FT), three rebounds and three assists. And Kelly Faris finished with 11 points and five assists.
UConn shot 51.1 percent from the field, was 30-of-35 from the free throw line and finished with a 40-26 rebounding advantage.
The Huskies led 52-49 with 15:11 left in the game. But they scored the next eight points as part of a game-breaking 17-3 run, holding Kentucky scoreless for a span of 5:45 and without a field goal for 6:51.
Hartley had seven points during the run. Hayes had five. And Mosqueda-Lewis capped the run with a 3-pointer that gave UConn a 69-52 lead with 7:26 left.
The Huskies led by as many as 22 down the stretch.
Former UConn forward and all-regional selection Samarie Walker led Kentucky with 14 points and five rebounds. The Wildcats shot just 31.1 percent from the field, including 25.8 in the second half.