ALBANY, N.Y. — Getting to the Final Four never gets old for Geno Auriemma and his UConn Huskies.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 27 points to help UConn beat Dayton 91-70 on Monday night to advance to the national semifinals for an eighth straight season.
“I love going to the Final Four. I don’t care how many times it is, what the total number is. I love it for the fact that some of my players have never been there,” Auriemma said.
“When you get a chance to go, you feel like you did something pretty significant. We did it over and over again. Some kids don’t get to go once.”
Now the Huskies stand two wins away from a third straight national championship. They accomplished that same feat from 2002-04.
Unlike the first three games of the tournament when UConn won by an average of nearly 48 points, the Huskies got all they could handle from the seventh-seeded Flyers.
Trailing at the half for the first time in two seasons, UConn scored the first nine points of the second half during a 15-3 run to take a 58-47 lead with 13:56 left.
A little more than a minute later, Mosqueda-Lewis hit her fifth 3-pointer of the game giving her 393 in her career to break the NCAA record for 3s. That made it 62-49.
Dayton (28-7) couldn’t get within seven the rest of the way thanks in a big part to Mosqueda-Lewis, who finished the game with seven 3-pointers.
Breanna Stewart added 23 points and 16 rebounds for the Huskies (36-1). Ally Malott scored 14 points, all in the first half, to lead Dayton.
Spokane regional final
Maryland 58, Tennessee 48: Maryland is going back to consecutive Final Fours and, for the second straight year, the Terrapins pushed aside Tennessee to get there.
In Spokane, Washington, Lexie Brown scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half, Brionna Jones added 14 points and nine rebounds and top-seeded Maryland advanced to its second straight Final Four with a win in the Spokane regional final.
Brown hit three 3-pointers in the second half as the Terrapins (34-2) overcame their lowest-scoring first half of the season to knock out Tennessee from the NCAAs for the second straight year. It’s the fifth Final Four appearance for the Terrapins and third under coach Brenda Frese.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 12 points for the Terrapins, who held Tennessee to one field goal over the final 5 minutes. Maryland has won 28 straight games.
Ariel Massengale led Tennessee (30-6) with 16 points, but the Lady Vols missed their chance at reaching the Final Four for the first time since 2008.
Tennessee’s focus all season had been on getting back to the Final Four, which just so happened to be in Tampa, Florida this season, the site of the Lady Vols’ most recent Final Four appearance and most recent national title. That task became far more difficult when leading scorer Isabelle Harrison was lost for the season to a knee injury in February.
Tennessee showed resiliency in the aftermath of Harrison’s injury and again in the Sweet 16, rallying from 17 down with less than 7 minutes remaining to beat Gonzaga in overtime.
But the Lady Vols’ run ended against the Terrapins.