Thanks to another stellar performance from Sabrina Ionescu and a lift from a home-state crowd, Oregon is heading to its first women’s Final Four.
Ionescu had 31 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and the second-seeded Ducks beat No. 1 seed Mississippi State 88-84 in Portland Region final Sunday.
“All I gotta say is we’re not done yet,” Ionescu said.
Satou Sabally had 22 points and seven rebounds for the Ducks (33-4), who head to Tampa, Fla., to face the winner of Monday’s game between top overall seed Baylor and Iowa.
At the final buzzer, Ionescu jumped into teammate Ruthy Hebard’s arms, and coach Kelly Graves flashed an “O” with his hands to the crowd. The Ducks had been eliminated in the Elite Eight the previous two seasons.
“I’m never amazed at anything she does really, after three years,” Graves said of Ionescu’s performance. “You just expect the incredible.”
Teaira McCowan had 19 points and 15 rebounds in her final game for the Bulldogs (33-3), who had played in the NCAA title game in the past two seasons. Two of Mississippi State’s losses this season were to Oregon, and the first one was a true road game.
Photo: Steve Dipaola / Associated Press
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This time, Mississippi State just felt like the away team, even though the Bulldogs wore their home whites. Attendance at the Moda Center was announced at 11,534, with the vast majority cheering on the Ducks.
UConn 80, Louisville 73: In Albany, N.Y., Katie Lou Samuelson scored 29 points and the second-seeded Huskies held off the top-seeded Cardinals, extending UConn’s record Final Four run to 12 consecutive years.
The Huskies (35-2) have won six national championships and had a 111-game winning streak during their remarkable Final Four run. They will be aiming to reach the title game for the first time in three years after they have lost on last-second shots in the past two national semifinals.
UConn, which made 14 3-pointers in the game, nearly blew an 11-point lead in the final 1:47 of the game.
Louisville scored 10 of 11 points to cut its deficit to 75-73 with 26.6 seconds left. Samuelson then hit two free throws to make it a two-possession game.
Asia Durr was fouled a few seconds later, but the Cardinals’ senior leader missed both free throws. Napheesa Collier was fouled after the Cardinals’ missed a chance on an offensive rebound. She stepped up and sank both free throws on the other end to make it 79-73.
As the buzzer sounded, the Huskies all mobbed Samuelson at the foul line celebrating another trip to the Final Four.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Oregon-UConn-advance-to-women-s-Final-Four-13731110.php.