TAMPA, Fla. - The rematch is set.
Connecticut continued on the path to a potential third straight national women's basketball title with an 81-58 victory over Maryland on Sunday night in a national semifinal. The Huskies will face Notre Dame again in Tuesday night's final.
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"This is exactly where we want to be right now,'' said Breanna Stewart, who had 25 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. "There's still work to do . . . We have to really focus in on Notre Dame. We don't just want to play in the national championship game. We want to win the game.''
Morgan Tuck had 24 points and nine rebounds for UConn (37-1). Moriah Jefferson added 14 points and five assists. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had only four points and shot 1-for-8 but contributed seven assists.
Leading 22-19 with nine minutes left in the first half, UConn used a 12-2 run to take control. Maryland (34-3) got within 39-33, but Tuck scored the final five points of the half.
Maryland missed its first six shots of the second half and committed three turnovers, and UConn led by 20 before the Terrapins scored a point.
Brionna Jones had 14 points and Lexie Brown and Brene Moseley added 12 each.
"We continued to get deflated as they went on their runs,'' Brown said. "The thing about UConn is it's not one person contributing to that run. It's the entire team. They do a great job of sharing the ball.''
UConn and Notre Dame will meet in the Final Four for the third year in a row. UConn won in the 2013 semifinals on the way to a title, then beat the Fighting Irish, 79-58, for a second straight title.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma is 9-0 in national championship games, though UConn lost to Notre Dame in the semifinals in 2011 and 2012. He said he's excited about the opportunity for a 10th championship -- 20 years after his first.
"If you play in enough of these games, you're going to lose at some point,'' he said. "We've played in nine of them. That's a lot, and we've won all nine. I hope we play in nine more. The thought that we're going to go 18-0 in those games? Ludicrous. We're going in on Tuesday, and it's one game, one night, for the season. The other nine aren't going to have any bearing on it.''