View Count: 157 |  Publish Date: April 07, 2014
Stanford's run ends with Final Four loss to UConn

NASHVILLE -- - In the hub of country music, Stanfords season ended with a thud - like a romance that ran out of gas or a truck whose engine died.
Breanna Stewart scored 16 points to lead a balanced UConn attack, and the Huskies trimmed the Cardinal, 75-56, Sunday night in the national semifinals.
Top-ranked UConn (39-0) and No. 2 Notre Dame (37-0), as expected, will hold a duel of unbeaten teams Tuesday night for the NCAA title.
The Irish rode a 28-point performance by Kayla McBride to a 87-61 rout of Maryland (28-7) in the earlier semifinal. Despite playing without injured Natalie Achonwa, their leading rebounder, the Irish dominated the Terps on the boards, 50-21.
UConn limited Chiney Ogwumike to 15 points, well below her average of 26.4. Stefanie Dolson, a 6-foot-5 senior, had the primary responsibility for guarding Ogwumike
UConn rode a 12-0 run late in the first half to lead at the break 28-24 after struggling with its shooting in the early going.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis hit a couple of jumpers as the Huskies bolted to a 44-27 lead early in the second half. Amber Orrange scored Stanfords next seven points, but UConn simply had too many weapons and its defense was too strong. Stanford couldnt come within 11 points the rest of the way.
Orrange finished with 16 points and Lili Thompson 12.
Mosqueda-Lewis, blanked in the first half, had 15 in the second. Briah Hartley added 13 points, and Dolson and Moriah Jefferson 10 each.
The Huskies had beaten Stanford, 76-57, at Storrs in November, but this game was a much tougher challenge for UConn from the start. Freshman Thompsons three-pointer gave Stanford a 9-8 lead at the first timeout a little more than four minutes into the game.
Thompson had 10 points in the first five minutes as the Cardinal took a 16-10 lead. UConn made only five of its first 20 shots from the field.
Orrange and Mikaela Ruef each hit from the perimeter, Ruefs shot barely beating the shot clock, to give Stanford a 22-16 lead.
Then the Huskies started to tighten the pressure on defense and to make their own shots. They went on a 12-0 run, highlighted by a three by Bria Hartley. Stefanie Dolson connected from the inside to tie the score 22-22 with just under four minutes left in the half. Stewarts jumper pushed UConn ahead before reserve Kiah Stokes and Stewart scored from the paint.
A jumper by Orrange halted the surge, cutting the margin to 28-24 at the half.
Ogwumike was held to four points in the half on 2-for-5 shooting. UConn had a 14-6 advantage on points in the paint, an area where Stanford usually dominates.
Ogwumike finished her Stanford career as the leading scorer (2,737 points) and rebounder (1,567) in Pac-12 history. The game ended the six-year reign of the Ogwumike sisters. Nneka and Chiney led the Cardinal to five Final Fours, six Pac-12 regular-season titles and five conference tournament championships.
Chiney Ogwumike is expected to be the top pick in the WNBA draft, just as Nneka was two years ago.
Tom FitzGerald is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @tomgfitzgerald

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Time: 4:50  |  News Code: 396645  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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