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Surfing the Wave: UConn advances to AAC Championship

As expected, the UConn Huskies are back in the AAC Championship Game for the third-straight year after dominating five-seed Tulane in the semi-finals. The top-seeded and top-ranked Huskies never let the Green Wave get comfortable once the ball was tipped, making for a lopsided final result.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Uncasville, CT -- What if I told you this Tulane Green Wave team that just lost to the UConn Huskies by 47 in the American Athletic Conference semi-finals Sunday, was also the same team that was up eleven over the Huskies during the first quarter of one of their regular season meetings? Hard to believe I'm sure.

UConn dominated literally from the opening tip and never trailed in this one, as the Huskies beat the Green Wave, 82-35. Katie Lou Samuelson and Morgan Tuck lead the way UConn, scoring 17 and 15 points respectively, as the Huskies prepare to play in their third-straight AAC Championship game Monday night.

It felt like UConn remembered how poorly they played to start the game the last time these two teams met, and were determined to not let that happen again. The Huskies scored the first 14 points of this game, en route to a 28-point first quarter.

"The last time we played them, even though our shots weren't going in, our defense wasn't good," Moriah Jefferson said. That's why this time we wanted to make sure that we defended really well, and kept them from getting the shots that they wanted."

UConn held the Green Wave to only five points through the first ten minutes, and played suffocating defense for much of the first half. The Huskies forced Tulane into ten turnovers and held their opponent to 24 percent shooting from the floor in the first 20 minutes.

Tulane's struggles carried into the second quarter, as the Green Wave were held scoreless for a seven-and-a-half minute stretch from the first into the second quarter. During that time, UConn was able to score 16 points, breaking the game open. The Huskies led by 36 at the half.

"When you get ten minutes (like those first ten minutes), it's fun to watch," UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma said. "I always get a kick out of when the ball is moving the way it was, we're scoring from different areas, and everybody that touches the ball is doing something good with it."

The second half was more of the same, as Tulane was never able to find a way to slow down top-seeded UConn.

For the second game in a row, the Huskies got contributions from many different players. Katie Lou Samuelson scored 12 of her 17 points in the first half, making it the second consecutive game Samuelson has scored at least 16 points.

"The biggest part of it is (my teammates) finding me and getting me the ball, so I'm grateful for that," Samuelson said. "I think all five of us can do something that can contribute in different way. On any day, I think any of us could be the leading scorer, so I think that's a very good thing about our team. We're very versatile."

Tulane's Kobly Morgan was never able to find the rhythm she had in her team's quarterfinal win over Memphis. Morgan was held to three points, including 1-for-9 shooting from the floor after scoring a game-high 23 points in her team's six-point win over the Tigers.

UConn will take on the winner of the other semifinal between two-seed South Florida and three-seed Temple Monday night in the AAC Championship game.