NCAA Tournament

UConn women blast Kansas State 72-26

Brittany Chambers glanced over the final statistic sheet while sitting at the podium and it made her cringe. She blinked her eyes, opened them again, glanced down, and it didn’t look any better.

The junior guard could have selected any number in the final box for Kansas State, but the one that caused her the most pain was a four-for-16 shooting performance — and that was actually one of the better outings from a Wildcat.

In its biggest game of the season, eighth-seed K-State was barely off the bus before No. 1 UConn administered one of the worst drubbings in NCAA Tournament history with a 72-26 second-round romp in front of 4,372 fans at Webster Bank Arena.

“If we would have lost by twenty fighting, that’s a different story, but the way that we went down is embarrassing,” said Chambers, who scored a team-high 11 points with her 25-percent shooting. “I feel very bad for the seniors.”

Nobody from K-State, 20-14, was in a good mood after the Wildcats set a record for fewest points in an NCAA Tournament game by shooting 17.5-percent (10-for-57) from the field. Southern had held the mark after scoring 27 against Duke in 2006.

The Huskies, 31-4, advance to Kingston, R.I. for their 19th straight trip to the Sweet 16. The Wildcats fly home after exiting the second round for the sixth time in their past seven NCAA trips.

“Credit UConn for their aggressive, confident play on both ends of the floor,” said K-State coach Deb Patterson after her team produced the lowest points total in her 16 years at the helm. “We were obviously dominated in every phase of the game.

“Why? I couldn’t tell you at this point, but we definitely did not look like the basketball team we’ve been all year, and that’s disappointing.”

Patterson might have been unable to explain it, but Chambers had a good grasp — fighting the defense of UConn drained the Wildcats. K-State had 20 turnovers, with 10 in each half that lead to 22 points for the Huskies, and managed just three assists.

“I think it was really surprising that the press wasn’t what bothered us, but by the time we crossed and got away from the press, we were just not having the leadership, myself and Mariah White, to even call a play,” Chambers said. “It was like we were so frazzled we got across half court, we were like ‘now what?’

“It was unfortunate we couldn’t step up and get out teams into plays. That’s our fault, it’s the guard faults.”

After Chambers hit a three-pointer 34 seconds in that gave K-State its only lead at 3-2, the Huskies responded. K-State missed its next 18 shots, and when Jalana Childs finally scored 11:19 later, the Huskies were up 19-5, and it only got worse.

“We always try to pressure teams real early,” Hartley said. “We run some time off the clock so by the time they get across half court they don’t have much time to make a play or get into their offense. They end up rushing, and that’s one thing we did really well tonight.”

UConn’s bench alone outscored the Wildcats with 32, led by 15 from Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes with 13. Tiffany Hayes added 11 with nine rebounds.

“To be honest, all year long watching them on television, film more prior to this game, but on television they were my pick to win it all,” Patterson said. “I really just never pick against Connecticut.”