Scores

Final

(2) Louisville 60

(29-9, 11-5 Big East)

(2) Connecticut 93

(35-4, 14-2 Big East)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    8:30 PM ET, April 9, 2013

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

    1 2 T
    #2LOU 29 3160
    #2CONN 48 4593

    Top Performers

    Louisville: S. Hammond 15 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Connecticut: B. Stewart 23 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 Blk

    UConn routs Louisville, ties NCAA record with eighth national title

    Associated Press

    NEW ORLEANS -- Geno Auriemma has been chasing Pat Summitt since he started coaching. Now with his eighth national championship, he has finally caught her.

    It might not be long before Auriemma stands alone with freshman Breanna Stewart leading the way.

    Stewart scored 18 of her 23 points in a dazzling first half and Connecticut won its eighth NCAA title with a 93-60 rout of Louisville on Tuesday night. It was the most lopsided victory in a title game, and it put the Huskies back atop college basketball after missing the game the past two years.

    The title tied Auriemma and the Huskies (35-4) with Summitt for the most in women's basketball history. Unlike the Tennessee great, Auriemma has never lost a championship game in eight appearances.

    "The only person I compare myself to is Pat Summitt and to be there in that spot with her means a lot to me," Auriemma said. "The fact that I tied Pat Summitt's record puts you in the category of the greatest women's basketball coach that ever lived."

    Stewart, his prized freshman, was unstoppable, hitting shots from everywhere on the court to earn Most Outstanding Player honors for the Final Four. She's only the fourth freshman ever to have that honor and first since 1987. Even her father in the stands repeatedly said "wow" as his daughter took the game over and Cardinals men's coach Rick Pitino, in town to cheer on the Louisville women, called her one of the best freshman in basketball.

    "This is unbelievable," Stewart said. "This is what we've thought about since the beginning of the season. And now to be here and actually win it, it's a great feeling and I don't think it's going to set in for a while. I just played really confident and stopped thinking. When I second-guess myself, nothing good comes out of that."

    After Auriemma cut down the final strand of the net, his team carried him around the court in celebration.

    Summitt, who stepped down a year ago and suffers from early-onset dementia, released a statement through her son, Tyler.

    "Congratulations to Geno Auriemma and the Connecticut Huskies on a remarkable season and an eighth national title," she said. "Geno is a proven champion and a leader in our game. My best to him, his family, his team and staff."

    The loss ended an unprecedented tournament run by Louisville. The Cardinals became the first No. 5 seed to make the championship game, pulling off the greatest upset in tournament history when they beat Brittney Griner and Baylor in the regional semifinals. Jeff Walz's team then beat Tennessee in the regional final before topping Cal in the Final Four.

    "The run we went on was remarkable and something I'll always remember" Walz said. "We're walking out with our head high and proud of what we've done."

    The Cardinals just didn't have enough to beat their Big East foe. Louisville was trying to become just the second school to win both the men's and women's championship in the same season and the first since UConn in 2004. Pitino, fresh off his team's 82-76 win in the title game over Michigan on Monday night, was sitting behind the Cardinals bench, trying to spur on the women's team. He talked to the players at their pregame meal and told them to just enjoy the moment and have fun in the game.

    It wasn't to be. Instead, the trip to the Big Easy marked the beginning of the Stewart era.

    Sharpshooting from deep or pounding the boards, she had one of the most remarkable runs of any first year player in the history of the NCAA tournament. Stewart finished with 105 points in only five games -- she missed the first round rout of Idaho to rest a sore calf -- the most by any first-year player since 2000, according to STATS. UConn's Maya Moore held the previous mark with 93 points.

    The 6-foot-4 star passed Moore with a neat tip-in with 7:04 left in the first half and wound up with a performance reminiscent of two of the all-time greats. As freshmen, Cheryl Miller guided USC to a title in 1983 and Chamique Holdsclaw led Tennessee to a championship in 1996.

    Stewart scored seven points during the pivotal 19-0 run that turned a four-point deficit into a double-digit lead and put the Cardinals in a hole they couldn't climb out of.

    "We rushed a lot, we started to panic a bit," Walz said. "They started executing."

    Stewart later swooped in for an incredible offensive rebound that she put back to make it 39-23. The Huskies led 48-29 at the half as Stewart had 18 points; the 19-point advantage fell four points short of the championship record set by Tennessee against Louisiana Tech in 1998.

    UConn dashed any hopes of a Louisville comeback by going on a 12-2 run after the Cardinals had cut its deficit to 60-44. The only question over the last 10 minutes would be whether this was the biggest blowout in title game history, and the Huskies easily surpassed Tennessee's 23-point win over Louisiana Tech in 1987.

    The Huskies beat Louisville by 22 points in the 2009 title game. Louisville was trying to become the lowest seed to win a NCAA championship on the women's side. Villanova, as an eight seed, was the lowest ever to win it on the men's side back in 1985.

    UConn hit 13 of its 26 3-pointers, including four by senior Kelly Faris, who finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

    The Schimmel sisters who really carried Louisville in the tournament had a rough go against UConn. Shoni Schimmel missed her first six shots and finished with just seven points on 3 of 15 shooting. Jude Schimmel was saddled with three fouls in the first half.

    "We made a miracle run in this tournament and will remember that the rest of their lives," said Sara Hammond, who led Louisville with 15 points.

    With UConn's victory, the Big East conference won a ninth national championship. The conference, which will split apart after this season, has been the most dominant in women's basketball over the past decade.

    And having both teams in the championship game was a fitting end to its current configuration. Neither team will be in the new Big East next season. Both will be in the American Athletic Conference. Louisville will then head to the ACC the year after.

    This was the first of UConn's championships when the Huskies didn't win a regular season or Big East tournament championship, making it a little bit sweeter for seniors Faris, Caroline Doty and Heather Buck. UConn's other national championships came in 1995, 2000, 2002-04 and 2009-10.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    LOU
    CONN
    Points 60 93
    FG Made-Attempted 23-62 (.371) 35-66 (.530)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-23 (.217) 13-26 (.500)
    FT Made-Attempted 9-10 (.900) 10-14 (.714)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 12 (0/0) 11 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 5 35

    Game Leaders

     
    LOU
    CONN
    PointsS. Hammond 15B. Stewart 23
    ReboundsS. Hammond 5B. Stewart 9
    AssistsB. Smith 6K. Faris 6
    StealsA. Slaughter 4B. Hartley 3
    BlocksS. Hammond 2B. Stewart 3

    Series

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Apr 9, 2013 @CONN 93, LOU 60Recap | Box Score

    Research Notes

    Louisville shot 45.5% on plays ending with a catch and shoot in the three games leading up to the 2013 Women's Basketball Championship. On Tuesday, the Cardinals were 6-for-19 (31.6%) on such plays, and 3-for-12 (25.0%) when Connecticut contested the shot.
    Geno Auriemma is now one of 3 coaches in NCAA basketball history with at least 8 national titles. He tied Pat Summitt with by winning his 8th on Tuesday night meaning the only coach with more titles is the legendary John Wooden. Geno Auriemma and John Wooden have something pretty unbelievable in common - neither coach lost a National Championship Game - Wooden was 10-0 and Auriemma is now 8-0.
      [+]
    Connecticut trailed Louisville 13-8 with 14:44 left in the first half. The Huskies scored 21 of the next 22 points to take a 29-14 lead with 8:44 left in the half. The Cardinals would not get within 10 points the rest of the game. Breanna Stewart led the way for Connecticut with seven points during the run.
      [+]
    Connecticut outscored Louisville 51-19 on field goals attempted outside the paint. The Huskies had three players who scored more than 10 points on such attempts (Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, 17; Kelly Faris, 14; Breanna Stewart, 11). Louisville shot 18 percent outside the paint, with its leading scorer Shoni Schimmel going 2-for-13 (15.4 percent).
      [+]

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