Huskies and Longhorns get set to battle on Saturday in Sweet 16.
ALBANY, NEW YORK: As the University of Connecticut Huskies look for a season capping, championship winning four-game winning streak, they settled in to the Sweet 16 environment at the Times Union Arena in the heart of this state capital.
First up for the Huskies will be a Texas Longhorn team, one that reinvented themselves on numerous occasions this season out of necessity rather than desire.
Texas, a member of the Big 12 Conference, comes off a 9-9 campaign in conference, 24-10 overall and are making their first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 2004.
Like everything else in the Longhorn State, the team is big, the biggest team that UConn has faced this season led by a 6’7” center from Los Angeles, California, Imani McGee-Stafford and a 6’5” forward from The Woodlands, Texas named Kelsey Lang.
The fifth seeded Longhorns played a pair of tight games to get to this point, the top seeded Huskies a couple of blowouts.
Texas got by Western Kentucky in first round play as freshman guard Brooke McCarty sank a pair of free throws with 20.8 second left and her team hung on for a 66-64 victory.
McGee-Stafford was a force inside in game one, posting a double-double with 24 points and 15 rebounds. McCarty finished with 10 points in the win.
In their first game in the dance, UConn disposed of St Francis of Brooklyn by an 89-33 final behind 26 points from Morgan Tuck and 17 from Breanna Stewart.
In their second round game, the Longhorns beat the number four seed from California by a 73-70 final as McGee-Stafford again played huge with her second double-double of the tournament with 20 points and 11 boards.
McCarty came alive on the offensive end with 16 points while Lang pitched in with 14.
The Huskies rode the hot shooting hand of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis in game two, a 91-55 win over Rutgers on Monday night at Storrs.
Even with Stewart on the bench with early foul trouble, the Huskies still put 51 points on the board in the first 20 minutes.
It’s the time of the year that is certainly common place for the Huskies, not so much for the Longhorns but the fact is, they are here and the Huskies will certainly not be taking anything for granted.
In the second game on Saturday, Louisville and Dayton will do battle after the Huskies and Longhorns meet at noon.
Monday night’s Regional Final will be played at 7 p.m. with a trip to the Final Four in Tampa on the line.