The UConn Huskies made easy work of a really good Oregon State team, capturing an 80-51 victory in front of a lively crowd at Banker's Life Fieldhouse for the first Final Four game in Indianapolis. It was the largest margin of victory in a national semifinal and the second-largest of any Final Four contest.
With the win tonight the Huskies extended their record NCAA Tournament win streak to 23 games. Geno Auriemma's squad is now one win away from a remarkable fourth consecutive title.
Oregon State was actually able to do some of the things it needed to do in order to win. But the Huskies just had too much firepower to be contained. They jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first two minutes and four minutes later it was 20-6. The scorching hot shooting cooled off a bit, but the Huskies still finished 56.7% from the field.
Oregon State pulled to within eight late in the second quarter, but UConn closed the half on a 15-2 run to take a 47-26 lead into the break.
One might think slowing down Breanna Stewart—who didn't score at all until midway through the second quarter—would have helped the Beavers, but it didn't. Stewart was called for her second foul 2:05 into the game and it may have affected her aggressiveness early on.
Luckily Morgan Tuck exploded for 13 in the first quarter on her way to 21 points in the game on 8-of-13 shooting. She did most of her early work behind the arc, where she finished 4-of-8.
Moriah Jefferson helped pick up the slack as well. She showed a bit more assertiveness as a scorer, finishing with 10 points and seven assists. She is now the UConn career assists leader, passing Diana Taurasi in this game.
The roughest news for the Huskies coming out of this evening is that freshman sensation Katie Lou Samuelson's season has likely ended.
Samuelson didn't start the second half and arrived at the bench a few minutes in wearing a boot. UConn later announced that Samuelson has broken a bone in her foot and would not return. Barring a missed diagnosis or a particularly potent dose of Ray Lewis's deer antler spray, Samuelson will not be available for Tuesday's championship, which is a real shame.
The Huskies, now 37-0, will play Syracuse on Tuesday night in the NCAA Championship. A win in the championship game would give UConn its sixth undefeated season in program history in addition to the historic fourth consecutive title.