- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Some fans take a March Madness party to the streets. Maya Moore and her Connecticut teammates enjoyed their boisterous celebration in a hotel hallway.

The Huskies watched in their rooms glued to the TV on Saturday night, nervously waiting out the end of UConn’s men’s team playing for a berth in the Final Four. When Kemba Walker and Co., knocked off Arizona, the proudest fans were the ones who share an arena and storied basketball tradition in Storrs, Conn.

“We were screaming in the hallways, high-fiving, chest-bumping,” Moore said. “It was awesome to see how our men are shocking the world. … It’s really fun to watch. We’re extremely excited and proud of them. It’s giving us a little extra motivation to play even better.”

Yeah, the last thing the top-seeded Huskies (35-1) need is more motivation heading into Tuesday’s regional final against Duke. UConn hasn’t lost this calendar year and is three victories away from a third straight national title.

Oh, and the second-seeded Blue Devils (32-3) standing as the roadblock in UConn’s path were left for roadkill in their first meeting. Moore dominated as usual as UConn surged to a 41-15 halftime lead in an 87-51 win over Duke on Jan. 31.

That was Tyson-Spinks. It was over before fans got comfy in their seats.

“They thumped us,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “There was no game there.”

Duke has tried to forget the worst defeat of an otherwise stellar season. The Blue Devils stoutly defended their season credentials Monday and insisted they’ve moved on from the abuse suffered against Connecticut.

McCallie was irked by a steady line of questioning about the game and what it meant to the program. She rattled off a string of accomplishments that any coach would love to have: A 20-0 record entering the first UConn game; ACC regular-season and tournament titles; and a nine-game winning streak headed into the regional final.

The Blue Devils, in their ninth regional final in 14 years, followed the loss with an 82-58 victory over No. 18 Miami.

“I can’t talk about a turnaround. There’s no turnaround,” she said, curtly. “There’s been nothing but power and excitement.”

The Blue Devils will have to erase the embarrassment from their minds if they have any chance of advancing to the Final Four in Indianapolis. Duke last made the Final Four in 2006.

“You want that rematch,” Blue Devils guard Jasmine Thomas said. “You want that chance to play and do better.”

Duke can’t do worse.

The Blue Devils shot 5 for 32 (16 percent) in the first half. They missed 13 of 17 3-pointers. The 87 points allowed was a season worst. Jasmine Thomas was the only scorer in double digits. UConn outrebounded Duke 49-28.

Story Continues →