Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Uconn's Defense Defeats Penn State

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Uconn's Defense Defeats Penn State

Article excerpt

A balanced offense and a stingy defense carried Geno Auriemma and his Connecticut Huskies to another regional final.

Bria Hartley scored 20 points, Kelly Faris added 15 and No. 1 seed Connecticut advanced to the NCAA tournament's regional finals for the seventh consecutive year with a 77-59 victory against Penn State Sunday in Kingston, R.I.

"We wanted to make sure that this was a team thing more than looking around for someone to have a big night," Auriemma said. "The team would have to play great defense and the team would have to execute offensively. I was really happy after the game to sit back and say that's exactly what it was."

The Huskies' stellar defense stymied the Nittany Lions, who averaged 87.5 points in the first two games of the Kingston Region.

"It's something we take a lot of pride in," Faris said of the defense. "It's something we work on day in and day out. Our offense stems from that. We play with four guards and a lot of switching and everyone has to know all the personnel. Today, it came down to everyone talking and helping each other out. We covered well for each other."

Leading 36-27 late in the first half, Connecticut (32-4) used a 17-2 run spanning halftime to blow the game open. Kaleena Mosqueda- Lewis started the spurt with a 3-pointer. Two free throws by Tiffany Hayes made it 43-29 at the break. The Huskies then scored the first 10 points of the second half to extend the margin to 53-29. Hartley capped the run with a lay-in.

Penn State (26-7) scored the next nine points to pull to 53-38, but the Nittany Lions could get no closer.

"We played too fast," Penn State coach Coquese Washington said. "We shot a lot of quick shots. We didn't show enough patience on the offensive end. When you do that against a team like Connecticut, you give up a lot of points in transition. Once they get on a roll they're tough to stop. …

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