GREENSBORO, N.C. Connecticut's Maya Moore struggled to get open all night against Rutgers' smothering defense. Then, given a rare open look from long range, the fabulous freshman shot the Huskies back into the Final Four.
Moore hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with less than 3 minutes left to propel top-seeded UConn past the No. 2-seeded Scarlet Knights 66-56 on Tuesday night in the Greensboro Regional championship.
Renee Montgomery and Ketia Swanier each scored 15 points to lead the Huskies (36-1), who rallied from a 14-point deficit to win their 15th straight game and reach their ninth Final Four but first since winning the 2004 national championship.
Moore finished with seven points just her second single-digit performance of the season but her final basket couldn't have come at a better time. With the game tied at 49-all, she took a feed at the top of the key and, with two-time Big East defensive player of the year Essence Carson sagging off of her, pulled up and swished a 3 to put UConn ahead to stay.
Matee Ajavon scored 18 points to lead Rutgers (27-7), the defending Greensboro Regional champion which was denied its second consecutive Final Four berth.
The Huskies will face Stanford in the Final Four. Connecticut beat Stanford 66-54 in the Paradise Jam tournament in the Virgin Islands in November.
Oklahoma City Regional
TENNESSEE 53, TEXAS A&M 45: At Oklahoma City, even with an injured shoulder, Candace Parker was still able to lift Tennessee into another Final Four.
Parker scored 26 points and returned after dislocating her left shoulder to lead the Lady Vols out of a second-half deficit for a win over Texas A&M.
She twice left the game in the first half with the injury and she didn't return until about halfway through the second half. She scored six of the Lady Vols' points in an 8-0 run as they overcame a 42-37 deficit, all while wearing a brace to stabilize her left shoulder.
She scored only eight points in the second half, but it was enough to push the Lady Vols (34-2) ahead when combined with a sturdy defensive effort that kept Texas A&M (29-8) scoreless for a five-minute stretch.
Top-seeded Tennessee advances to the Final Four for the sixth time in the past seven seasons, where it will face Southeastern Conference rival LSU. The teams split their two meetings this season. The Lady Tigers beat Tennessee during the regular season, but lost in the SEC tournament championship game.