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UConn advances to sixth straight Final Four with 83-53 win over Kentucky

The Connecticut Huskies defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 83-53 tonight to advance to a record sixth straight Final Four.

USA TODAY Sports

In 1976, the Rutgers men's basketball team took an undefeated record into the Final Four in Philadelphia. They were led by, among others, fast Eddie Jordan, who would later become a Los Angeles Laker. Michigan beat them easily in the national semis because, as coach Johnny Orr put it, his star guard Ricky Green was faster than fast Eddie Jordan.

Kentucky is considered to be one of the fastest women's teams this season, led by its three starting guards A'dia Mathies, Kastine Evans and Jennifer O'Neill. Tonight, UConn's Bria Hartley and Moriah Jefferson proved to be faster: the Kentucky trio committed a total of 10 turnovers, largely as a result of UConn pressure.

UConn's speed and defensive pressure helped to overwhelm Kentucky in Bridgeport before a highly partisan crowd to advance to a record sixth straight Final Four.

Hartley and Jefferson came off the bench to record 10 points and 4 steals each.

Kentucky appeared to be playing UConn evenly in the first half, leading 23-22, but in the final 9:07 before halftime UConn went on one of its patented runs - 26-3 - to grab a 48-26 lead.

The Huskies were led by freshman Breanna Stewart who continued her strong play with 21 points. Injured center Stefanie Dolson got plenty of rest, playing only 24 minutes.

After the game coach Geno Auriemma, in commenting about the early Kentucky lead, noted that, "We lose our composure a little at times but once Moriah and Hartley got in we settled down."

Auriemma reaches the Final Four for the 14th time in his career.

UConn will play the Tuesday winner of the Notre Dame-Duke game in the national semis. Notre Dame beat UConn narrowly 3 times this season and UConn blew out Duke at home, 79-49, the same 30 point advantage as against Kentucky.

For more on the UConn's path to the Final Four, check out our Bridgeport region storystream.