- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The Final Four is set and the question remains the same as the NCAA tournament heads St. Louis: Can anybody stop Connecticut?

Three teams still have a chance, but two of those _ Oklahoma and Louisville _ have already been humbled by the Huskies this season.

The other, Stanford, has the distinction of being the last team to beat UConn.

“I said last year we’d be back,” Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. “We are going back … it’s ironic that we’re playing the same team. We’re pretty excited right now.”

UConn (37-0) has been dominant all season and is in search of the school’s third undefeated season and the fifth in women’s basketball history.

Three times before the Huskies have entered the NCAAs unbeaten. Connecticut went on to win the national championship in 1995 and 2002. In ‘97, the Huskies lost to Tennessee in the regional final.

The Huskies wrapped up a spot in the Final Four that’s seemed all but inevitable much of this season with a 83-64 victory against Arizona State on Tuesday night in the Trenton Regional final.

The Cardinal (33-4) have made their own impressive run to the Final Four, winning all four of their NCAA games in routs. Stanford, which has won 20 straight, blew out Iowa State by 21 points in the Berkeley Regional final Monday night.

“I’m so impressed last night with the way their team played,” Auriemma said. “They look like as a good team as last year. If we do the same thing we did last year it’s not going to be good enough. We’ll have to be better than we were last season.”

UConn hasn’t really faced a challenge all season, winning by an average of 31 points and not allowing any team to come within single digits.

The Huskies have already easily beaten both Louisville and Oklahoma this season.

The Cardinals advanced to their first Final Four in school history, knocking off Maryland in the Raleigh Regional final. Of the four teams in St. Louis, Louisville (33-4) had the toughest road as a three-seed. They had to beat LSU in Baton Rouge and then upset the top-seeded Terps. Star Angel McCoughtry had 21 points and 13 rebounds in the regional final. The Cardinals never trailed and led by double figures for virtually the entire second half in continuing an improbable march through the bracket.

For the Cardinals to continue their run, they will need to stop Paris, who became the first four-time All-American earlier Tuesday.

Paris now stands two victories away from fulfilling her promise as the Sooners (32-4) returned to the Final Four for the first time since losing to Connecticut in the 2002 championship game.

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