STORRS, CT (March 6) The top-seeded Connecticut womens basketball team will face the eighth-seeded Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the 2004 BIG EAST Championship.
The Huskies are not defending their BIG EAST title for the first time in 10 seasons having been defeated by Villanova in the 2003 BIG EAST Championship game, 52-48 at the RAC in Piscataway, NJ. UConn enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons. UConn has won 29 of their past 30 contests in BIG EAST Championship play. The Huskies will play the Hokies, who advanced with a 56-47 victory over ninth-seeded Georgetown on Saturday afternoon in First Round play.
The Huskies are led by All-American Diana Taurasi who was named the 2004 BIG EAST Player of the Year for the second consecutive season was named to the BIG EASTs 25th Silver Anniversary Team. Taurasi leads the Huskies in scoring (15.9 ppg), assists (133) and steals (48). Taurasi is looking to win her second Most Outstanding Performer award of the BIG EAST Championship, having won the honor after her freshman year of 2001.
Sophomore Barbara Turner, a member of the 2004 BIG EAST All-Second Team, is second on the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game and is shooting 56 percent from the field. She also averages 4.7 rebounds per contest.
Virginia Tech is paced by senior Ieva Kublina, also a 2004 BIG EAST All-Second Team member. She averages 13.5 points per game and 6.6 rebounds in each contest and leads the BIG EAST in blocks at 2.37 per game. Carrie Mason and Dawn Chriss average 11.1 and 10.6 points per game, respectively.
The Huskies will be playing Virginia Tech for the second time this season having defeated the Hokies 68-50 on January 27 in Blacksburg, Va. UConns Turner led four Huskies in double-figures with 15 points. Kublina had a game-high 19 points for Virginia Tech.
The contest marks the second consecutive season UConn and Virginia Tech meet in BIG EAST Championship play. UConn won last years contest 71-54 as Taurasi scored 18 points and center Jessica Moore scored 14 points. This game will mark the final time that the two teams meet as members of the BIG EAST Conference, as Virginia Tech is leaving at the conclusion of the season to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
We were very passive the first time and we must hit the midrange jumpers tomorrow. We need to rotate better and defend the three, said Virginia Tech head coach Bonnie Henrickson. We won today so at least we have a chance to play them again. This is the time of year where you survive and advance.