So Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe thinks the Connecticut Huskies are ruining women's college basketball.
How does one ruin basketball by winning? Because that's all the UConn women have done for years. The Huskies came into Monday night looking for their ninth straight Final Four appearance and 14th since the turn of the century.
The only test left was the Texas Longhorns, who were coming off an impressive win over the UCLA Bruins on Saturday.
Following that matchup was a battle of the top two seeds in the Dallas Region, as the No. 1-seeded Baylor Bears took on the No. 2-seeded Oregon State Beavers for the last spot in an unusual Final Four featuring No. 4 and No. 7 seeds on the opposite end of the bracket.
Here's a look at Monday's Elite Eight action:
|NCAA Women's Tournament Results and Bracket|
|Elite Eight: March 28||Result|
|No. 2 Texas vs. No. 1 UConn||UConn, 86-65|
|No. 2 Oregon State vs. No. 1 Baylor||Oregon State, 60-57|
|Final Four: April 3||Time (ET) and TV|
|No. 2 Oregon State vs. No. 1 UConn||6 p.m., ESPN|
|No. 7 Washington vs. No. 4 Syracuse||8:30 p.m., ESPN|
No. 1 UConn 86, No. 2 Texas 65
The Huskies are now winners of 73 straight games and are on their way to the Final Four after defeating the Longhorns, 86-65.
UConn forward and three-time All-American Breanna Stewart scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the victory. UConn shot 56.4 percent from the field and improved to 36-0 on the year.
Stewart is two wins away from capping off a historic college career, and she continues to break records, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Former UConn star Stefanie Dolson was ecstatic to see her alma mater make yet another Final Four:
stefanie Dolson @bigmamastef
Yeahhhhhhhh Uconn!!! Keep it up! 7minutes left and y'all headed to anotherrrrr Final Four3/29/2016, 12:36:18 AM
It was a wire-to-wire victory for the top-ranked Huskies, who have not lost a game since Nov. 17, 2014, with none of their wins being decided by single digits. UConn's dominance has been on display for an entire year-and-a-half, and it showed once again Monday.
Forward Morgan Tuck, one of four Huskies to score in double figures, had a game-high 22 points. Ariel Atkins and Lashann Higgs led Texas with 19 points each. The Longhorns, however, turned the ball over 14 times and shot 40.6 percent from the field.
The Longhorns lost by 51 points to UConn in last year's NCAA tournament, and Texas tried to use that game as a springboard for motivation, according to the ESPN broadcast. Although they lost again, the Longhorns could be on the rise, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
UConn was too much for the Longhorns on Sunday, and it's been too much for opponents throughout its 73-game winning streak. Despite Texas' best efforts, it's clear it'll take more than a valiant effort to knock off the Huskies.
No. 2 Oregon State 60, No. 1 Baylor 57
Three teams will make their Final Four debuts next week after Oregon State's thrilling three-point victory over top-seeded Baylor on Monday night.
Sydney Wiese scored a team-high 18 points for the Beavers, but none were more important than the three free throws she made in the final 33 seconds to give Oregon State the win. Baylor guard Niya Johnson's potential game-tying three-pointer as time expired was off the mark.
The team's Twitter account captured the moment at center court after the Beavers pulled off the upset:
While the Beavers are making history this spring, Baylor has failed to reach the Final Four once again, per ESPN Stats & Info:
The Portland Trail Blazers also took time to congratulate the Oregon State women on reaching the Final Four:
Baylor guard Alexis Jones scored a game-high 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting. The Lady Bears collectively shot 38.5 percent from the floor, and the Beavers out-rebounded them 39-33.
Four Oregon State players scored in double figures, including a double-double from center Ruth Hamblin, who scored 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Beavers guard Jamie Weisner also chipped in with 16 points and eight rebounds.
The Beavers will join Washington and Syracuse as first-time Final Four members. That's the good news. The bad news, however, is that Oregon State's matchup in the Final Four will be against the best women's basketball team in the world, UConn.
The Huskies' sustained success doesn't come from just playing efficient basketball. It involves players who have been with the program since they were freshmen.
"We're the seniors, and we've got to make big plays in big moments," said UConn senior Moriah Jefferson, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "They were on a run, and we really needed to step up."
But when a team like the Huskies has a coach like Geno Auriemma who turns a team into a well-oiled machine, the success is expected when sticking to a certain formula.
"Nine times is a lot of Final Fours," Auriemma said, per the AP. "That's a lot. That's a lot of players over a lot of years. It's not easy to do."
Texas trailed 30-25 early in the second quarter before UConn started to pull away. That five-point Huskies lead turned into a 15-point halftime lead.
"I can't say enough about how proud I am of our basketball team," said Texas head coach Karen Aston, per the AP. "It's a tough night for us, lots of seniors, lots of tears, lots of people that didn't want it to end. It's a significantly different looking team and different locker room than it was last year, we played our last game."
Scott Rueck's stint at Oregon State in 2010-11 started with a nine-win campaign. After two consecutive second-round exits, the Beavers have finally broken through.
"Today was a culmination of all those experience over the last six years," Rueck said, per Oregon State women's basketball.
And while this has been a magical season for the Beavers, Rueck knows the challenge that lies ahead, per OSU women's basketball:
Oregon State WBB @BeaverWBB
"To be the best, you have to beat the best. That's what's next for us." @jamieweisner on facing UConn3/29/2016, 3:51:25 AM
That won't stop Oregon State from celebrating this hard-fought run to the Final Four.
"We're going to celebrate tonight, soak up this special moment," Hamblin said, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "And we're going to get back to work this week, and we know what we have to do to play UConn because they're obviously a formidable opponent."
Not since the days of Brittney Griner has Baylor been out of the Elite Eight, and it'll be another offseason of wondering what could've been.
"They did hit clutch shots, and we didn't," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said, per the AP. "I mean, there was how many times we had a tie ballgame there at the end, and we didn't get a good shot."
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