TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – The Connecticut express is headed to St. Louis for the Final Four, a trip the perfect Huskies have seemed destined to make all season. Maya Moore scored 25 points and undefeated UConn beat Arizona State 83-64 on Tuesday night to advance to the national semifinals for the second straight season and ninth time in the last 14 years.

Renee Montgomery added 22 points for the Huskies (37-0), who will face Stanford on Sunday in a rematch of last season’s national semifinal. The Cardinal won that game before losing in the championship to Tennessee.

UConn hasn’t lost since and is two wins away from the program’s third perfect season.

Danielle Orsillo scored 18 to lead Arizona State (26-9), which played the Huskies as competitively as just about any other opponent this season but still had its season end in the regional final for the second time in three years.

It was a busy day for Moore, who made The Associated Press All-America team for the second straight season.

She also broke UConn’s single-season scoring record on a step-back 3-pointer late in the first half that gave the Huskies their first double-digit lead of the game 34-24.

The sensational sophomore passed Kara Wolters’ record of 694 points set in 1995-96. Wolters was sitting courtside doing radio for a Connecticut station.

And Moore nabbed another honor after the game, being selected the Trenton Regionals most outstanding player.

Moore was joined on the All-America team by Montgomery, marking the first time a pair of teammates were on the first-team since 2000.

Tina Charles, who added 18 points and 13 rebounds against the Sun Devils, earned second-team honors.

Connecticut had dismantled opponents this season, including beating eight ranked teams by an average of 31 points.

Arizona State tried to wear down UConn with its hockey-like substitution pattern. Coach Charli Turner Thorne put in three or four fresh players every few minutes.

It worked early on as UConn struggled for the second straight game against a Pac-10 opponent. The Huskies turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and Montgomery picked up three fouls early on sending her to the bench.

Oklahoma 74, Purdue 68

OKLAHOMA CITY – Courtney Paris will get the chance to back up her national championship guarantee in the Final Four.

Paris led the way with 19 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks as top-seeded Oklahoma surged ahead in the second half to beat Purdue 74-68 Tuesday night to earn the second trip to the Final Four in school history.

The Sooners (32-4) will face Louisville, an upset winner against top-seeded Maryland, in the national semifinals in St. Louis.

Danielle Robinson scored 23 points for Oklahoma, which has made it this far for the first time since losing to Connecticut in the 2002 championship game.

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton led sixth-seeded Purdue (25-11) with 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Lakisha Freeman and Brittany Rayburn scored 12 points apiece.

Paris, a senior who on Monday became the first player ever to be selected as an AP All-American all four years of college, raised the stakes for the Sooners on her senior night in early March when she promised she’d bring home a national title or else pay back her scholarship.

She came through with her biggest game yet in the NCAA tournament and was named the most outstanding player of the Oklahoma City Regional.

As the clock ran down to zero, she caught a leaping Whitney Hand for an embrace at midcourt and then pumped her right fist in the air. A partisan crowd of 11,529 chanted “Final Four!” as the players danced in a circle on the center court logo.

Anything less would have been a disappointment for Paris, who had been shut out of even the final eight in her first three seasons with the Sooners. She hasn’t been shy about saying this season was Final Four or bust from the very beginning, and took that to another level with her guarantee.

It wasn’t looking so good for the Sooners early on, though.

After a poor-shooting first half, Oklahoma needed an 11-point burst early in the second half to take the lead for good. Hand, shut out in the first half after scoring a career-best 22 points in the regional semifinal, hit a pair of 3-pointers during the run before Robinson’s layup along the left baseline pushed the Sooners’ lead to 37-31 with 13:20 to play.

Purdue countered with a three-point play by Rayburn before Wisdom-Hylton’s jumper inside cut the deficit to one. The Boilermakers were within one again after FahKara Malone’s driving layup, but then Hand connected on another 3 as Oklahoma started to create a cushion.

Paris pushed the lead to 58-51 with her layup at the right block with 3:45 left, and Robinson’s two free throws extended the lead to nine a minute later.

Purdue didn’t make another basket until Freeman’s 3-pointer with 7.7 seconds left got the deficit down to four, and the Boilermakers fell short in their bid for the fourth Final Four in school history.

Along with the victory, Paris became the first player to block at least 100 shots in each of her four years in school.

Oklahoma, which came in trailing only undefeated Connecticut by shooting 48 percent for the field, came out with its worst shooting half of the season despite getting 11 more shots off than Purdue. The Sooners made only eight of their 34 shots (24 percent) before halftime, with Robinson going just 2-for-8 while Paris was 3-for-8 from close range.

After a hot stretch that started with their best shooting ever in the Big Ten tournament, Purdue cooled off by making 30 percent from the field but made up for it by making all 12 of their free throws to lead 27-22 at the half.

AP-ES-03-31-09 2333EDT


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