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Briann January leads Arizona State past Texas A&M

Sun Devils defeat Aggies, 84-69. and will face undefeated Connecticut in the regional final.

March 30, 2009|Associated Press

Briann January scored 22 points at Trenton, N.J., and the Arizona State Sun Devils scorched Texas A&M's pressing defense like no one else this season in posting an 84-69 victory to gain the second regional final in school history.

Arizona State (26-8) will face top-seeded Connecticut on Tuesday night for a trip to the Final Four in St. Louis.

"They were the better basketball team today," Aggies Coach Gary Blair said of the Sun Devils. "If they can play at that level, they can give Connecticut a good run, and Connecticut is one of the greatest teams I have ever seen."

Danielle Orsillo added 15 points and Lauren Lacey had 14 for the Sun Devils, who shot a season-high 62% against a team that had given up only 87 points in its first two tournament games.

Tanisha Smith had 19 points and Takia Starks added 18 for the second-seeded Aggies (27-8), who were looking to advance to the regional final for the second straight year.

Danielle Gant added 13 points for Texas A&M, which shot 48%.

The Sun Devils never trailed in the second half although they did not take control until the final three minutes when they used a 7-2 run to push their lead to 10 points.

Connecticut 77, California 53 -- Freshman Tiffany Hayes scored a career-high 28 points as the undefeated Huskies (36-0) won at Trenton, N.J., to advance to their 14th regional final in the last 16 seasons.

Ashley Walker scored 21 to lead California (27-7), which was making its first trip to the regionals after blowing out Fresno State and Virginia in the first two rounds.

Hayes made nine of 10 shots and easily surpassed her previous career high of 23 set against Louisville. She also had seven assists and five rebounds. Maya Moore added 23 points for the Huskies.

Purdue 67, Rutgers 61 -- Lakisha Freeman scored 18 points, and sixth-seeded Purdue held off a late rally at Oklahoma City to advance to the round of eight.

FahKara Malone made a key basket in the final minute and Jodi Howell added the clinching free throws with 6.2 seconds left for Purdue (25-10), which will play top-seeded Oklahoma on Tuesday in the regional final.

Brittany Ray scored 19 points and Epiphanny Prince added 15 for seventh-seeded Rutgers (21-13), which upset second-seeded Auburn in the second round.

Oklahoma 70, Pittsburgh 59 -- Freshman Whitney Hand set career-highs with 22 points and eight rebounds at Oklahoma City and the top-seeded Sooners rolled into the regional finals for only the second time in school history.

Oklahoma (31-5) put the game away with a 20-2 second-half surge. The Sooners were hardly bothered by foul trouble that kept star Courtney Paris off the court much of the game, getting double-digit scoring from all five starters.

Shavonte Zellous scored 18 for Pittsburgh (25-8), which lost in the round of 16 for the second straight year.

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