Huskies movin' up -- again

UConn's Tiffany Hayes leaps into the arms of teammate Bria Hartley after Hartley hit a three-pointer in the second half against Kentucky in NCAA Kingston Regional final action Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

Kingston, R.I. - Kalana Greene, program alum, summarized the general feeling with a late-game tweet: "This game had me shaking in my boots for a second. And yes, I'm wearing boots."

Indeed, there were some uncomfortable moments for the UConn women Tuesday night at the Ryan Center in the Kingston Regional final in Kingston, R.I. But with a lot of Tiffany Hayes and a little of everyone else, the Huskies did what they usually do: Win when it counts.

UConn 80, Kentucky 65.

The Huskies, who turned the ball over with regularity early and trailed late in the first half, made the program's fifth straight Final Four and 13th overall. They will play Notre Dame - who beat Maryland, 80-49, Tuesday night - in Denver Sunday night in the national semifinals.

"It could have just as easily gotten away from us," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "We showed a lot in the second half. I'm happiest for Tiffany most of all."

Hayes, who led Connecticut with 22 points, turned the game on the final play of the first half. After a made free throw in the closing seconds, Hayes threw a touchdown pass to Kelly Faris over midcourt. Faris caught it and converted a layup at the horn to give UConn a 41-39 lead at halftime.

It was the third time in her career that Hayes, UConn's only senior, scored at least 20 points in an NCAA tournament game.

UConn never trailed in the second half.

Norwich Free Academy graduate Kastine Evans finished with 10 points for Kentucky.

m.dimauro@theday.com

UConn's Caroline Doty, holding trophy, and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis congratulate teammate Tiffany Hayes after Hayes was named Most Outstanding Player after the Huskies beat Kentucky, 80-65, Tuesday night in the NCAA Kingston Regional final at the University of Rhode Island. See story on C1 and go to www.theday.com to view a photo gallery of the action.
UConn's Caroline Doty, holding trophy, and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis congratulate teammate Tiffany Hayes after Hayes was named Most Outstanding Player after the Huskies beat Kentucky, 80-65, Tuesday night in the NCAA Kingston Regional final at the University of Rhode Island. See story on C1 and go to www.theday.com to view a photo gallery of the action.

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