Morgan Tuck leads UConn in Final Four win over Oregon State, 80-51, Huskies return to title game

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INDIANAPOLIS — No. 1 overall seed Connecticut (37-0) never trailed against Oregon State (32-5) Sunday evening in the first semifinal game of the Final Four, defeating the Beavers 80-51. The Huskies return to the national championship game for the fourth straight year.

Both teams missed their initial shots before UConn freshman Katie Lou Samuelson got things going with a layup at 9:21. Oregon State’s first points came after senior center Ruth Hamblin made free throws after getting fouled by UConn senior forward Breanna Stewart, a recipient of national player of the year honors from several organizations.

Stewart committed two fouls in the first quarter but it did not matter for the Huskies as forward Morgan Tuck picked up the slack scoring 13 points in the period. UConn led 26-17 after the first ten minutes.

Well, I mean, it’s hard to not be impressed by the things that Morgan Tuck did in that first-half run that we had,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “That’s what stood out the most.”

Things did not get better for Oregon State in the second quarter as the Huskies continued their offensive onslaught outscoring their opponent 21-9. UConn did experience a setback late in the first half as Samuelson injured her left foot. It turned out that she broke a bone in the foot and was unable to return to the game. She finished with seven points, three rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes. At the half, UConn led 47-26.

“That first half really set us up well for the second half because everybody on the team contributed and they felt great at halftime and felt great coming out,” added Auriemma. “So that to me was the most impressive thing; that our team played great today.”

The third quarter was the best outing for the Beavers, only getting outscored by two points, 17-15.

“Once you start hitting them, they hit back,” Oregon State senior forward Samantha Seigner said. “You just have to be ready and take the punches, unfortunately, that one was too big for us.”

UConn put the pedal to the metal in the fourth quarter, outpacing the Beavers 16-10.

“They are known for their execution, and they were definitely flawless on both ends of the court,” continued Siegner. “Defensively, they didn’t make a mistake that I can remember, and offensively, they made us pay for anything we did wrong – so credit to them.”

Tuck led all scorers with 21 points. Stewart added 16 plus eight rebounds. Senior point guard and winner of the 2016 Nancy Lieberman award, senior point guard Moriah Jefferson, added 10 points and seven assists.

Junior guard Sydney Wiese led Oregon State with 13 points plus five rebounds. Hamblin ended her college career with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Huskies limited the Pac-12 Player of the Year and All-American Jamie Weisner to nine points and four rebounds.

Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck started off his postgame comments with praise for UConn.

“Hats off to UConn. They played a phenomenal game tonight. I thought they obviously shot the ball extremely well. With a team like that, you’ve got to kind of pick your poison. And that team made us pay, no matter what we did. And that’s why they are who they are. You know, offensively they really made us work and kept us off balance. And credit them.”

UConn plays the winner of the second semifinal game, Syracuse vs. Washington. The Huskies will attempt to complete their sixth undefeated season in program history on Tuesday night in the national championship game, including the second in three seasons and fourth since 2009.

UConn Notes

  • UConn improves to 37-0 on the season with the victory and have won 74 consecutive games, extending the second-longest streak in NCAA history.
  • UConn has won 23 straight games in NCAA Tournament play, extending their own record.
  • UConn’s 29-point margin of victory was the second largest in a game in Women’s Final Four history and the largest margin in a national semifinal game.
  • Morgan Tuck had 21 points, one off of her season high of 22 points scored against South Florida on Jan. 10, 2016. Her four three-point field goals in the game set a new career high and were tied for the seventh most by an individual in a Women’s Final Four game.
  • Breanna Stewart, one of just six players in NCAA Tournament history to score at least 400 career points in the tournament, now has 422 career points in the tournament and needs six points to tie Diana Taurasi (UConn, 2001-04) for fourth on the NCAA Women’s Tournament career scoring list. Stewart scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half tonight while hitting 7-of-10 from the field.
  • UConn becomes the 10th team in tournament history to reach the national championship game with an undefeated record.

Oregon State Notes

  • With 425 career blocks, Ruth Hamblin finishes her career as the Oregon State and Pac-12 all-time blocks leader. She entered the game as the active blocks leader and after tonight has 13 more blocks than UConn’s Breanna Stewart, who has 413.
  • Ruth Hamblin finished the game with six blocked shots, tied for the second-most blocks in an NCAA National Semifinal, behind only Michelle Snow (Tennessee, 7 vs. Rutgers in 2000).
  • With six blocked shots, Ruth Hamblin finishes this year’s NCAA Tournament with 22 blocks, tied for the fourth-most by a player in a single NCAA tournament.
  • With 11 rebounds in the game, Ruth Hamblin finishes with 71 boards in her five NCAA Tournament games, the fifth-most by a player in a single NCAA Tournament.
  • Hamblin moves into a tie for 14th in Pac-12 history for career rebounds with 1,117 (tied with Ashley Walker from California).
  • With 10 points and 11 rebounds, Hamblin tallied her 29th career double-double, the 13th this season.
  • Oregon State finished the game 9-9 from the free throw line, tying the record for free-throw percentage by a team (100 percent) in a Women’s Final Four game. Only Texas A&M (10-10 vs. Stanford (2011 National SF) and Tennessee (9-9 vs. Southern California in 1984) have made at least nine free throws without a miss in a Women’s Final Four game.
  • Oregon State now has a 6-3 record in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Scott Rueck.
  • Oregon State had held 32 of 36 opponents to 40 percent shooting or less. UCONN shot 56.7 percent.
  • Oregon State faced its largest halftime deficit of the season (47-26). The Beavers trailed Tennessee 35-18 at the break in a 53-50 defeat to the Lady Vols on Dec. 19.
  • Jamie Weisner finishes her career with 1,777 career points, the sixth most in Oregon State history.
  • Sydney Wiese continues as the all-time three-point leader in Oregon State history with 270.


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