Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bulls Can't Knock Off No. 1 UConn

Kalana Greene scored a season-high 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, and top-ranked Connecticut defeated the University of South Florida 79-42 Sunday in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship.

Greene, whose previous high was 17 against Rutgers on Monday, had 18 by halftime when UConn led 47-10. She hit nine of her 10 shots from the field.

Maya Moore, the conference player of the year, had a double-double in the first half and finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds in 27 minutes. Tina Charles added 15 points and Kaili McLaren had 13 for the Huskies (31-0), who are seeking their 15th conference tournament title and second in a row.

Janae Stokes led eighth-seeded USF (22-10) with 15. Jazmine Sepulveda, who tied a tournament record with eight 3-pointers in the Bulls' second-round win over Cincinnati, attempted just two shots and didn't score on Sunday. Leading scorer Danielle Starzynski only scored 3 points on the night as well. Jasmine Wynne added nine points in the loss for USF.

Connecticut started fast, and a lob pass from McLaren to Moore made it 20-1 with just over 12 minutes left in the first half.USF didn't get a field goal until Porche Grant hit a layup with just over 9 minutes left in first half to make it 25-5. The Bulls were just 3-of-24 from the field in the first half, while the Huskies had runs of 10-0, 10-0 and 13-0 before halftime.

The 10 points were the fewest the Huskies had ever allowed in one half of a BIG EAST tournament game. UConn, which beat USF 83-37 in Tampa on Jan. 6, held the Bulls to 29percent shooting and improved to 8-0 against the Bulls. The Huskies shot 50 percent, and outrebounded USF 51-19.

The Bulls will now sit and await their fate as to whether they will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The entire field of 64 will be announced on Monday, March 16 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

USF hopes to received its second NCAA Tournament invitation in the program's history. The Bulls last advanced to the "Big Dance" during the 2005-06 season when they earned a No. 9 seed and faced the No. 8 seed Southern California in the first round in Norfolk, VA. The Women of Troy defeated USF 67-65 in what was one of the best games of the first round.

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