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Boilers routed by UConn

STORRS, Conn. – Tiffany Hayes scored 23 points, Maya Moore added 16 and No. 1 Connecticut put on a defensive clinic to beat ninth-seeded Purdue 64-40 on Tuesday night in the second round of the women’s NCAA tournament.

The Huskies (33-1) advanced to the regional semifinals for the 18th straight season, the longest active streak in the nation. The victory was UConn’s 22nd straight overall and 83rd in a row at home.

Moore and fellow senior Lorin Dixon were playing their final game at Gampel Pavilion. The pair became the first UConn seniors to finish unbeaten at home, going 40-0 at their on-campus arena. The duo also went undefeated on their other home court, the XL Center in Hartford.

The two improved to an unbelievable 148-3 overall in their careers.

Drey Mingo scored nine points to lead Purdue (21-12).

The Huskies will play in Philadelphia on Sunday against No. 4-seed Maryland or fifth-seeded Georgetown. Duke will face DePaul in the other semifinal in Philadelphia.

Leading 9-7 with 13:47 left in the first half, UConn held Purdue to one field goal over the next 13 minutes to extend its advantage to 26-11 on Hayes’ free throw.

Usually when the Huskies turn up their defensive pressure is when they blow games open with quick runs. This was more of a slow walk, thanks to a strong defensive effort by Purdue.

UConn, which averaged 77.6 points a game, had to scrap for every point. Hayes had eight points during the spurt and Hartley added five. Her three-pointer with 6:15 left in the half made it 21-9. That was the last basket the Huskies would get before the break, but they hit seven free throws down the stretch to give themselves a 15-point halftime lead.

Antionette Howard’s layup with 8:26 left in the half was the only basket Purdue would get before Mingo scored with 22 seconds left. Moore’s two free throws with a tenth of a second left gave UConn a 28-13 lead at the break. It was the fewest points in a first half ever for the Boilermakers. They had 14 against Ohio State in 1976.

UConn opened the second half with a 19-3 run to put the game away. Hayes had two three-pointers to start the burst and hit another three with 12:51 left to close it, giving UConn a 47-16 lead.

Hayes had outscored Purdue 21-16 at that point.

The Boilermakers could only get within 23 the rest of the game, barely surpassing their previous low-point total of 28 set in that game 35 years ago against the Buckeyes.

Moore’s three-point play with 4:57 left moved her into eighth place on the NCAA career scoring list. She passed Valorie Whiteside of Appalachian State, who had 2,944 points.

The Huskies held Purdue to just 26 percent shooting (14 for 54) and outrebounded the Boilermakers 55-30, including grabbing 23 offensive boards.

Moore finished with 13 rebounds and Stefanie Dolson had 10 to go along with 11 points.

This was the Boilermakers’ sixth straight loss to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. They fell to Oklahoma in the regional final in 2009 and didn’t make the tournament last season.

The loss ended an inspiring season for the Boilermakers. Mingo went down in November with a life-threatening case of meningitis. Given about a 50-percent chance of survival, she returned to the court just 16 days later.

Despite significant hearing loss, she played well to the end of the season. Mingo had 16 points in the Boilermakers’ opening-round win over Kansas State.

With no seniors on the team, coach Sharon Versyp is optimistic about the future.

For more on this story see Wednesday's Journal Gazette or go to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.

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