(2) Stanford 56

(33-4, 17-1 Pac-12)

(1) Connecticut 75

(39-0, 18-0 American)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    9:00 PM ET, April 6, 2014

    Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

    1 2 T
    #2STAN 24 3256
    #1CONN 28 4775

    Top Performers

    Stanford: A. Orrange 16 Pts, 3 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Connecticut: B. Stewart 18 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Stanford-UConn Preview

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- All the talk of Stanford feeling like a junior varsity team crashing the Final Four or being an extra at the beauty pageant is just rhetoric to UConn coach Geno Auriemma. Motivational chatter he says no team here needs since each has won a championship.

    Auriemma noted Saturday he's never won any pageant.

    Nope, he and his Connecticut Huskies just win titles -- and they're back chasing perfection again. They are two wins from making history: The first program in the women's game with nine national titles.

    "I think this team thinks they can win anywhere, anytime against anybody," Auriemma said.

    Before UConn (38-0) can think of a possible undefeated showdown with Notre Dame in the title game, however, the Huskies must get past Stanford Sunday night in one national semifinal.

    Stanford is back at the Final Four for the sixth time in seven years. Stanford has two titles to its credit, though the Cardinal have been shut out in eight previous Final Four berths over the past 20 years. Compare that to UConn, which has won all its titles on 13 trips in that same span.

    Auriemma said every team here can win a national title, which is the beauty of the Final Four.

    "All you got to do is play really well two nights, and you can win a national championship," Auriemma said. "And all four teams that are here are capable of doing that because they've already done that. So I don't think they should feel like they're a JV team. I don't think they should anybody should feel like they're the extras at the Miss America pageant."

    Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer credits the media wanting the story of two undefeated teams playing for a title, and she makes no apologies for wanting to muck that up.

    "If we're going to be someone's hors d'oeuvre, we're not going to get swallowed easily," VanDerveer said. "We're going to work really hard to play the best game we can, and we definitely talk about it."

    The Huskies have won six of the past seven against Stanford, including the last tournament meeting in the 2010 title game. They also won Nov. 11 in Storrs by 19.

    The defending national champion has won 44 straight overall, and UConn sophomore Breanna Stewart was named The Associated Press' player of the year Saturday. Stewart is scoring a team-high 19.4 points a game and much more confident in her second Final Four.

    "I've been here before, but I still want to accomplish the same task," Stewart said.

    All five starters score in double figures, and the Huskies play defense just as well. They hold opponents to 47.3 points a game and 30.7 percent shooting. Junior Kiah Stokes said Auriemma boosts their confidence by putting them in can't win situations like playing five on nine. Then there's that crucial experience as a program with this their seventh straight Final Four.

    "It's even harder now because people don't want us to win again," Stokes said. "It's exciting for us, and we're looking forward to it. It takes a lot of work. We know it will take even more work than last year."

    Stanford last upset UConn in the NCAA tournament in the 2008 national semifinal, a game VanDerveer has mentioned to her players noting those Huskies had the likes of Tina Charles and Maya Moore.

    "They have a very talented team this year, but we just have to play well," VanDerveer said.

    Stanford (33-3) has won four straight since a loss in the Pac-12 tournament.

    All-American Chiney Ogwumike has much more help during the NCAA tournament than in that early loss at UConn. Point guard Amber Orrange, freshman guard Lili Thompson and Mikaela Ruef have kept opposing defenses from collapsing around the senior forward.

    "We're not intimidated," Ogwumike said. "We're excited. We just want to play our game. I think no matter the outcome, if we play Stanford basketball, we'll be happy. But, granted, we'll be happier if we win, obviously, and that's what we're working toward."

    Those aren't just more words. The Cardinal finished practice with a bit of dancing to make sure they stay loose and have fun.

    Said Ruef, "That's what we're trying to do on this trip."


    Follow Teresa M. Walker at


    Gameday Matchup

    Avg Points77.682.7
    Avg Points Allowed60.147.0
    Home Record14-016-0
    Road Record11-213-0
    Current StreakL1W34

    School Info

    Conference Pac-12 American
    Nickname Cardinal Huskies
    Type Private Public


    » Apr 6, 2014 @CONN 75, STAN 56Recap | Box Score

    Starting Lineup

    STAN (PPG)
    CONN (PPG)
    F  M. Ruef C  S. Dolson
    F  C. Ogwumike F  K. Mosqueda-Lewis
    G  A. Orrange F  B. Stewart
    G  S. James G  M. Jefferson
    G  L. Thompson G  B. Hartley

    Research Notes

    Connecticut trailed for more than 12 minutes of the first half, the most the Huskies trailed in a game this season. In the first half, the Huskies had four assists and six turnovers. They had much crisper ball movement in the second half with 11 assists and two turnovers to pull away from the Cardinal, outscoring them by 15.
    Connecticut scored 16 more points outside the paint in the second half than it did in the first half. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 11 points outside the paint in the second half after not scoring in the first half.
    Stanford was more efficient when Chiney Ogwumike had a paint touch, but Connecticut held her without such a touch on 51 of 66 possessions

    ESPN Stats & Information