March 25, 2013
Box Score |
AP Photos |
STORRS, Conn. (AP) - Vanderbilt showed this season it can play with some very good offensive teams and other very good defensive teams in the Southeastern Conference.
But it was no match Monday night for Connecticut.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 22 points as the Huskies routed the Commodores 77-44 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"They are excellent at both ends of the floor," Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said. "And that's what our team saw tonight and that's why you saw the big difference in scoring compared to the Texas A&Ms, the Kentuckys, and the Tennessees that we stayed with better."
Freshman Breanna Stewart added 14 points and Stefanie Dolson had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Huskies (31-4), who are seeking their sixth straight trip to the Final Four and eighth national championship.
Tiffany Clarke had 16 points for Vanderbilt (21-12), which dropped three of its last six games. Kendall Shaw came off the bench to add 12 points for the Commodores.
Vanderbilt had lost its starting center, Stephanie Holzer, in the preseason to a knee injury. And with sharp-shooter Christina Foggie (two points) limited by a late-season knee sprain, the Commodores just didn't have the depth to stay with UConn.
"When injury on top of injury came, we could have just gave up," Clarke said. "I don't think we became the victim. I think we came closer together and fought through and proved a lot of people wrong because we made it here, and a lot of people had written us off."
Connecticut focused on stopping point guard Jasmine Lister, who averages more than 34 minutes, 12 points and five assists a game. She finished with just two points and five turnovers.
UConn forced 23 turnovers while committing 12. The Huskies also outrebounded Vanderbilt 34-24, holding Clarke to two boards.
The Huskies led by 13 at halftime and opened the second half on a 17-0 run to put the game out of reach.
"I thought we competed until halftime," Balcomb said. "Coming out of that locker room the first four minutes of the second half I felt like we were on our heels and they were very, very aggressive."
UConn held Vanderbilt without a field goal for more than 7 minutes after intermission, and the Commodores missed 11 consecutive shots.
"We take a lot of pride in our defense," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "Coach told us at halftime, `You guys can't just turn it on and off whenever you want. You have to stay consistent throughout the game.' As soon as we came out we knew that we had to flip the switch and make sure it stayed on the whole time."
UConn will play Maryland in the regional semifinals Saturday. The Terrapins easily beat Michigan State 74-49.
Mosqueda-Lewis capped the big second-half run with a shot from behind the arc that made it 54-24. The basket also gave her the school record for 3-pointers in a season, surpassing Wendy Davis' 107 in 1991-92.
She came in shooting a nation-best 50 percent from behind the arc, and 44 percent in her two seasons at UConn.
"I know when the ball is in her hands good things are going to happen," said guard Caroline Doty.
UConn used stifling defense to hold Vanderbilt without a field goal for the first 4 minutes of the game and opened on an 8-1 run.
Shaw, who averages only three points, came off the bench to hit her first three shots for the Commodores and the Huskies led just 14-9 at the second media timeout.
UConn led 25-20 before scoring 12 straight points late in the first half. Mosqueda-Lewis tied the school record for 3s during that run.