9 STRAIGHT! @UConnWBB with the 70-51 victory over BYU to advance to the Huskies 9th-consecutive #Elite8! #ncaaW pic.twitter.com/h9aoN87sh0— NCAA Women's BKB (@NCAAWomensBKB) March 29, 2014
Two tweets really summed up how UConn beat BYU today despite falling behind by their biggest deficit of the season (5) in the first half.
Take UConn' 13 free throws out of the mix and BYU is trailing by 1. The Cougars are 0-for-3 from the line today #UConnWomen— John Altavilla (@jaltavilla) March 29, 2014
The @UConnWBB defense has held BYU to 1-9 from 3pt range in 2nd half; 9-26 (34.6%) FG #ncaaw— Brenda VanLengen (@BrendaVanLengen) March 29, 2014
As much of a defensive presence as 6-foot-7 center Jennifer Hamson has been in the tournament, it's really oversimplifying things to suggest that her presence alone is what allowed BYU to establish a lead: they did an outstanding job of moving the ball, hitting shots and closing out on UConn's three point shooters in the first half. In the second half, they just couldn't hit shots over UConn's defense.
Therein lies the challenge in beating UConn: even if an opponent do come up with a game plan to compete with them, they have so many weapons that something - whether offensively or defensively - will eventually be an opponent's undoing.
For more on UConn's path through the Lincoln region, check out our Lincoln region storystream.