From the Associated Press and Staff Reports
UConn is headed back to the biggest stage in women’s college basketball, thanks to Maya Moore’s tiebreaking 3-pointer with less than 3 minutes left that propelled the top-seeded Huskies past No. 2-seeded Rutgers 66-56 on Tuesday night in the Greensboro Regional championship played at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Renee Montgomery and Ketia Swanier each scored 15 points to lead the Huskies (36-1), who rallied from a 14-point deficit against their Big East rivals to win their 15th straight game and reach their ninth Final Four — but first since winning the 2004 national championship.
With the game tied at 49-all, Moore ran off of Tina Charles’ screen on Essence Carson at the top of the key, pulled up and swished the 3 that put UConn ahead to stay with 2:55 left.
The Huskies then were perfect on 14 free-throws in the final 2-plus minutes to end their three-year Final Four hiatus.
Matee Ajavon scored 18 points to lead Rutgers (27-7), the defending Greensboro Regional champion which was denied its second consecutive Final Four berth.
Rutgers raced out to a huge, early lead when Epiphanny Prince’s free throws with about 8 minutes left capped the 17-5 run that made it 25-11, but the Scarlet Knights largely did it with their trademark tough defense. The Huskies made it a game again, erasing that deficit with a 19-5 run that bridged halftime. They outscored Rutgers 12-3 during the final 4Â½ minutes of the half to pull to 32-27 at the break — their season-low for scoring in a first half.
UConn will now face Stanford on April 6th at the Final Four in Tampa.