LINCOLN, Neb. >> For the first half, UConn received an unexpected challenge from BYU.
But the Huskies took control in the second half and pulled away.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 19 points to lead four Connecticut players in double figures, and the defending national champion Huskies shook off BYU early in the second half to win 70-51 in the NCAA women’s regional semifinals Saturday.
"There’s always one of these in the tournament," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "I hope there’s only one."
The Huskies (37-0), winners of 43 straight, need a win over Texas A&M on Monday night to reach the final four for the seventh straight year.
UConn season scoring leaders Breanna Stewart and Bria Hartley overcame slow starts, with Stewart scoring 12 of her 16 in the second half and Hartley all 12 after halftime.
Hartley scored 11 of the Huskies’ 13 points during a stretch in which their lead grew to 50-41.
"To be honest with you, people on our staff will vouch for me, I knew it was going to be like this," Auriemma said. "I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy matchup. It’s not supposed to be easy, no matter how we make it look sometimes. I think we showed a lot of people who we are in the second half. When we need a play, we made the plays."
Kim Beeston led the Cougars (28-7) with 16 points. Kylie Maeda, an ‘Iolani alumna, scored four points and had four assists.
BYU showed no sign of being intimidated against the Huskies’ cast of stars. The proof? UConn was down 35-34 with 17:34 left — the latest it has trailed this season — after Lexi Eaton hit three straight baskets to open the second half.
TEXAS A&M 84, DEPAUL 65
LINCOLN, Neb. >> Courtney Walker scored 25 points, and the Aggies (27-8) beat the Demon Deacons (29-7), who shot 40 percent, including 28 percent in the first half, and struggled defensively against the physical Aggies.
NOTRE DAME REGIONAL
NOTRE DAME 89, OKLAHOMA STATE 72
SOUTH BEND, Ind. >> Natalie Achonwa got the Fighting Irish going early and never let up as she finished with 23 points and Jewell Loyd added 20 to in a win over the Cowgirls.
Notre Dame (35-0) needs a victory over Baylor on Monday for its fourth straight final four berth, while the Cowgirls (25-9) missed a chance to advance to a regional final for the first time in school history.
BAYLOR 90, KENTUCKY 72
SOUTH BEND, Ind. >> Odyssey Sims scored 25 points, including her 1,000th this season, to lead the second-seeded Lady Bears (32-4) to a rout of the third-seeded Wildcats (26-9).
NCAA WOMEN’S TOURNEY
Tuesday Semifinal winners, 3 p.m.
NOTRE DAME REGIONAL
Baylor 90, Kentucky 72
Regional Semifinals At Louisville, Ky.
Tennessee (29-5) vs. Maryland (26-6), 6 a.m.
Tuesday Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.