UConn survives Georgetown scare
Huskies rally from a seven-point second half deficit
PHILADELPHIA -- Maya Moore had 23 points and 14 rebounds to help Connecticut rally from a seven-point second half deficit and beat Georgetown 68-63 on Sunday in the regional semifinals.
Bria Hartley added 17 points for UConn (35-1), which is now three victories away from a third consecutive national championship that would match the school's own run from 2002-04 and Tennessee's from 1996-98.
This was the third meeting between the two Big East teams in the past 30 days. UConn won the first two games by double digits, but Georgetown was able to remain close in those games by forcing the Huskies into a combined 47 turnovers with its relentless pressure.
The Hoyas showed no fear of the top seed from the start, giving the Huskies all they could handle.
Monica McNutt scored 17 points for Georgetown (24-11), which was trying to pull off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history.
Connecticut trailed 53-46 with 9:36 left, but responded with a 16-2 run sparked by Lorin Dixon.
Hartley got the spurt started with a 3-pointer and Dixon followed with a layup off a steal. The senior guard then got another steal and fed Hartley for an easy lay-in that tied it at 53 with 7:12 left.
Moore then scored four in a row and, after Alexa Roche's basket, Hartley capped the run with a 3-pointer that made it 62-55 with 4:03 left.
McNutt's 3-pointer got Georgetown within four with 1:41 left, but Moore answered with a long jumper from the corner to seal the win.
It was coach Geno Auriemma's 80th victory in the NCAA tournament, moving him into second on the career wins list for men or women. Tennessee coach Pat Summitt leads the way with 109, and Duke men's coach Mike Krzyzewski is third with 79 victories.
Auriemma has had a lot of success in Philadelphia, making his first Final Four in 1991 after playing at the regional at the Palestra. In 2000, Auriemma's team won its second national championship here.
While UConn is a regular in the round of 16, Georgetown is a relative newcomer. The Hoyas have been this far only once before in 1992-93. That team lost to Virginia in the regional semifinals.
Sensing the buzz around the women's program, the school sent up two bus loads of boisterous students to the game and the Hoyas gave their fans plenty to cheer about.
Sugar Rodgers had said on Saturday that the coaching staff put together a highlight film showing the team the two good halves they had played against UConn in the previous two meetings. They added one more Sunday, but couldn't close it out after leading 35-32 at halftime.
The Hoyas continued to press UConn in the second half, building their lead with the 3-pointer. McNutt and Rodgers hit back-to-back 3s to make it 47-42 with 15:41 left.
Tia Magee then added four consecutive points to give the Hoyas a seven-point lead before UConn took over.
The Huskies haven't lost in the round of 16 since Stanford beat them in 2005. It has been 12 years since they lost as a one seed in the regional semifinals, falling to Iowa State in 1999.
Even Auriemma kidded in the press conference Saturday that his family and friends weren't going to show up until the championship game Tuesday night when the Huskies will play the winner of the Duke-DePaul game.
They would have missed a great game.
The Huskies have won 23 straight overall and 70 in a row against Big East schools.