ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Crystal Dangerfield scored 19 of her 21 points in the first half, and top-seeded UConn routed No. 2 South Carolina 94-65 on Monday night to reach the Final Four for the 11th consecutive year.
The Albany Regional final featured the past two NCAA champions in a rare occurrence for the women's tournament. The Huskies (36-0) quickly turned it into a mismatch with stellar 3-point shooting. UConn went right at South Carolina in the opening quarter, hitting nine of its 14 shots - including 5 of 6 from beyond the arc - to go up 30-12.
Katie Lou Samuelson had nine points, including a four-point play, during the first 10 minutes. Dangerfield capped the opening burst with a 3-pointer from the top of the key just before the end of the quarter.
The Huskies stayed hot from behind the arc, connecting on 9 of 10 3-pointers in the half - including a perfect 5 for 5 by Dangerfield. Her last 3 of the second quarter made it 52-31 and delighted a crowd that included former UConn greats Tina Charles and Breanna Stewart, who helped the Huskies to four consecutive national championships. Stewart grew up 2 hours west of Albany.
Gabby Williams scored 23 points, Samuelson finished with 17 and Napheesa Collier had 16 as UConn scored the most points in school history for this round of the NCAA Tournament. Williams was named most outstanding player of the region.
The loss ended the stellar career of South Carolina post A'ja Wilson. The unanimous AP All-American, who grew up a few miles from the Gamecocks' campus, helped the school win its first national championship last season and guided the team to two Final Fours in her four years. She did all she could to make it a third trip to the national semifinals.
She finished with 27 points for South Carolina (29-7), but it wasn't nearly enough. Coach Dawn Staley took her star out with just over 3 minutes left in the game and her team down 31 points.
This season marked Carolina's third NCAA Elite Eight appearance in the last four years. The Gamecocks finished their 2017-18 campaign with a mark of 29-7, totaling 25 or more wins for the seventh-straight year.
Gamecock senior forward A'ja Wilson led all scorers with 27 points Monday. She closed her storied collegiate career as Carolina's all-time leader in points with 2,369.
With an assist in the fourth quarter, Carolina guard Tyasha Harris set a new program single-season record. She bested the previous mark by one, finishing her sophomore campaign with 220 assists.
Gamecock junior forward Alexis Jennings netted 15 points against the Huskies to join Wilson in double figures. Jennings averaged 13.0 points in the NCAA Tournament, reaching double figures in each of her last three games.
UConn closed the first quarter on a 15-4 run to build a commanding 30-12 advantage as the two teams headed to the first break. The Huskies knocked down two 3-pointers during that stretch, including one at the buzzer.
The Huskies were efficient from the 3-point line, shooting 60.0 percent (12-of-20) from beyond the arc. UConn shot 9-of-10 from distance in the first half against a Carolina team that finished the night just 1-of-7 (14.3 percent) from distance.