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Huskies Defeat Florida 87-59 to Advance to Sweet 16

March 24, 2009

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STORRS, Conn. - Renee Montgomery (St. Albans, W. Va.) scored 25 points, an NCAA Tournament best for the senior guard, as she led the No. 1 seed University of Connecticut women's basketball team over the No. 8 seed Florida 87-59 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday night. The Huskies now advance to the Sweet 16 in Trenton, N.J.

Montgomery hit five three-pointers in today's contest and had five assists as she recorded her 11th game this season with 20 or more points and the 24th of her career.

With the Huskies' 49th all-time win when playing as a No. 1 seed in the tournament, they improve to 35-0 on the year, marking their best record since finishing 39-0 in 2002. Florida's season ends with an overall mark of 24-8.

After opening the game 0-for-6 from the floor, UConn jumped to a 5-0 lead and held Florida scoreless in the first 4:09. The Gators missed their first seven shots of tonight's contest before Lonnika Thompson drove the lane to put Florida on the board.

The Huskies extended their lead to 21-12 midway through the first half led by Maya Moore (Lawrenceville, Ga.), who netted 11 points during a 3:35 span. The Gators battled back into the game, despite the foul trouble of Sha Brooks, to cut the lead to six at 26-20 with 6:50 left in the first half.

Montgomery hit a three-pointer at the 5:48 mark and completed the four-point play after being fouled to put the Huskies up 31-20 before knocking down her second straight three-pointer to stretch the UConn lead to 14 points.

Montgomery's four-point play sparked a 21-6 UConn run to close out the half as she led the Huskies with 11 points in that span. The Huskies went into the break with a 47-26 lead as Florida recorded their largest halftime deficit of the season at 21 points.

UConn dominated on the boards in the first frame, outrebounding the Gators 34-13. Tina Charles (Jamaica, N.Y.) scored 11 points in the first half and pulled down eight rebounds as she recorded her 13th consecutive game with double-figure points.

UConn shot just .371 (13-of-35) from the field in the first half as Florida put together a .303 (10-of-33) clip. The Gators shot just two free throws in the frame and were held to just two second chance points by the UConn defense.

Charles began the second half scoring nine out of the Huskies' first 11 points as the Huskies pushed their lead to 25 before back-to-back buckets by Florida's Brooks.

UConn pulled away to its largest lead of the contest at the 7:26 mark to extend its lead to 36 as the Huskies grabbed 51 rebounds opposed to Florida's 28.

Florida finished the game shooting .313 (20-of-64) from the floor and hit eight shots from behind the arc as UConn shot .491 (28-of-57) from the field. Moore's 22 points marks her seventh straight game with double-figure points and her 34th in 35 games this season as she added a game-high 14 rebounds to claim her 27th double-double of her career and her team-best 16th this season.

Charles also had 22 points and had 10 rebounds on the night, while Kalana Greene (Saint Stephen, S.C.) had eight rebounds and four points.

After today's win, UConn ups its record to 66-10 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, while improving to 17-2 all-time in NCAA second round games.

UConn will advance to the Sweet 16 in Trenton, N.J. and will play on Sunday, March 29 against No. 4 seed California.


                                    1st    2nd    Final
21/22 Florida        26     33      59
1/1 Connecticut     47     40       87