Huskies will play Stanford in Sweet 16

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma mixed and matched his Huskies right into the round of 16 for the 12th straight year.

Ann Strother scored 19 points and Jessica Moore had 11 points, 12 rebounds and three steals to help the three-time defending national champion Huskies rout Florida State 70-52 on Tuesday night.

Connecticut dominated the smaller Seminoles with depth and defense.

"Defensively we covered everything we wanted to cover. Offensively, we were really in sync with each other," Auriemma said. "When we put in a whole new group, I think it took its toll on Florida State because I think they were already a little bit winded."

Third-seeded UConn (25-7), which has won its last 20 NCAA games since falling to Notre Dame in the 2001 national semifinals, will play second-seeded Stanford in the Kansas City Regional semifinals Sunday.

"It's one streak we didn't want to let go," UConn junior Barbara Turner said.

The sixth-seeded Seminoles (24-8) were trying to advance past the second round for the first time and for the first 10 minutes matched UConn basket for basket. Senior Roneeka Hodges led Florida State with 28 points.

Auriemma went to his deep bench early in the game and quickly wore down the Seminoles, who briefly led 14-12.

The first wave of substitutes that included freshmen Mel Thomas, Ketia Swanier and Charde Houston turned up the tempo. In the group's first sequence, Houston hit a driving layup, Thomas came up with a loose ball and Swanier took a charge.

That immediately brought the Gampel Pavilion crowd back into the game; for the rest of the half, they watched the Huskies play near-perfect ball. Their transition game wore down the Seminoles and the Huskies closed the half on a 28-5 run for a 40-19 lead.

"We felt like we could come out and put up a great fight," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. "If we did the things that we do well, then we had a shot at it. Their strength really hurt us."

Florida State hit just two field goals in the final 11:23 of the half, both by Hodges. She had all five of Florida State's field goals in the period. The Huskies slowed the tempo in the second half, but the cushion was too large for the Seminoles to overcome, despite 16 more points from Hodges in the period.

"I just came out and played my game," Hodges said. "I scored 28 points but we lost the game so it really didn't matter."

When she was finally left the game with 18 seconds remaining, Hodges drew an ovation. The senior transfer from LSU was an immediate impact player for Semrau, the Atlantic Coach Conference coach of the year. Semrau turned the program around in her eight years, leading the Seminoles from the conference cellar to a contender.

"I'm not sure I can describe the impact she's had on our program this year," Semrau said. "It wasn't about the 28 points. It was about the fearlessness that she gave us, the courage."

Florida State closed out its first 20-win season since 1990-91 in a season that began tragically. The sudden death of 6-foot-5 post player Ronalda Pierce from a heart defect last summer tightly bonded the Seminoles, who wore her No. 55 on the back of their shoes to honor her.

Led by Moore, the Huskies dominated inside, outrebounding the Seminoles 40-30 and outscoring them 36-22 in the paint.

Turner added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Huskies.

The Huskies will take the next day off before leaving for Kansas City. Auriemma is looking forward to the respite with top-ranked Stamford looming.

"When the NCAA Tournament comes, things happen quickly. You really don't have time to get your bearings," Auriemma said. "We're just going to need a couple days to regroup. Hopefully we can come out with the same different energy level on Sunday because its going to be a whole different ball of wax."