UConn routs Louisville to win eighth NCAA women’s basketball championship
Freshman Stewart leads Connecticut to romp over Louisville.
Published: April 9, 2013 11:51PM
Updated: April 10, 2013 12:21AM
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Connecticut players on the bench react after teammate Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (23) sinks a three pointer against Louisville guard Jude Schimmel (22) during the second half of the national championship game of the women's Final Four of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Tuesday, April 9, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

New Orleans • Geno Auriemma and Connecticut are back on top. With freshman Breanna Stewart leading the way, it might be a while before they relinquish that spot.

Stewart scored 18 of her 23 points in a dazzling first half and Connecticut won its eighth national championship with a 93-60 rout of Louisville on Tuesday night. It was the most lopsided victory in a title game.

The title tied Auriemma and the Huskies (35-4) with Pat Summitt and Tennessee for the most in women’s basketball history.

“The fact that I tied Pat Summitt’s record puts you in the category of the greatest women’s basketball coach that ever lived,” Auriemma said. “I’m just thrilled for our seniors. This team accomplished an amazing feat this last month.”

It might not take long for Auriemma to pass Summitt the way Stewart and the rest of his Huskies played. His prized freshman was unstoppable, hitting shots from everywhere on the court to earn Most Outstanding Player honors for the Final Four. Even her father in the stands watching repeatedly said “wow” as his daughter took the game over.

“This is unbelievable,” she said. “This is what we’ve thought about since the beginning of the season. And now to be here and actually win it, it’s a great feeling and I don’t think it’s going to set in for a while. I just played really confident and stopped thinking. When I second-guess myself, nothing good comes out of that.”

The loss ended an unprecedented tournament run by Louisville. The Cardinals became the first No. 5 seed to make the championship game, pulling off the greatest upset in tournament history when they beat Brittney Griner and Baylor in the regional semifinals. Jeff Walz’s team then beat Tennessee in the regional final before topping Cal in the Final Four.

The Cardinals just didn’t have enough to beat their Big East foe. Louisville was trying to become just the second school to win both the men’s and women’s championship in the same season and the first since UConn in 2004.

Louisville men’s coach Rick Pitino, fresh off his team’s 82-76 win in the title game over Michigan on Monday night, was sitting behind the Cardinals bench, trying to spur on the women’s team. He talked to the players at their pregame meal and told them to just enjoy the moment and have fun in the game.

It wasn’t to be, and Pitino was thoroughly impressed by Stewart, too.

“This is one of the best freshmen in basketball,” he said in a halftime interview.

This trip to the Big Easy marked the beginning of the Stewart era. The heralded freshman had one of the most remarkable runs of any first year player in the history of the NCAA tournament.

UConn 93, Louisville 60

O Connecticut wins its eighth national title, and coach Geno Auriemma ties Tennessee’s Pat Summitt for the most championships.

• UConn freshman Breanna Stewart scores 23 points.

Not even close

Largest margin of victory in an NCAA women’s championship game, dating to 1982:

33 • UConn 93, Louisville 60 (2013)

23 • Tennessee 67, Louisiana Tech 44 (1987)

22 • UConn 76, Louisville 54 (2009)

22 • Baylor 84, Michigan State 62 (2005)

UConn 93, Louisville 60

LOUISVILLE (29-9) • Hammond 6-16 2-2 15, Vails 4-7 0-0 8, Slaughter 4-8 0-0 9, Smith 1-4 5-6 7, S. Schimmel 3-15 2-2 9, Harper 0-1 0-0 0, Walton 0-0 0-0 0, Deines 0-1 0-0 0, J. Schimmel 3-6 0-0 7, Reid 2-4 0-0 5. Totals • 23-62 9-10 60.

UCONN (35-4) • Doty 0-1 0-0 0, Mosqueda-Lewis 6-12 1-1 18, Stewart 9-15 2-5 23, Dolson 4-7 4-4 12, Faris 6-11 0-0 16, Tuck 3-8 0-0 6, Jefferson 1-2 1-2 3, Hartley 5-8 2-2 13, Buck 1-2 0-0 2, Stokes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals • 35-66 10-14 93.

Halftime—UConn 48-29. 3-Point Goals—Louisville 5-23 (Reid 1-2, J. Schimmel 1-2, Hammond 1-3, Slaughter 1-4, S. Schimmel 1-8, Vails 0-1, Smith 0-1, Harper 0-1, Deines 0-1), UConn 13-26 (Mosqueda-Lewis 5-8, Faris 4-7, Stewart 3-3, Hartley 1-2, Dolson 0-1, Jefferson 0-1, Doty 0-1, Tuck 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Louisville 28 (Hammond 5), UConn 44 (Faris, Mosqueda-Lewis, Stewart 9). Assists—Louisville 13 (Smith 6), UConn 24 (Faris 6). Total Fouls—Louisville 12, UConn 11. A—17,545.