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PORTLAND, Ore. — Seven years have passed since the University of Connecticut last won an NCAA women’s basketball championship.
But the Huskies remain the standard in which all other programs are measured.
The Iowa Hawkeyes will find out Sunday just where they stand, in front of a national audience.
No. 9 Iowa held Oregon State to 22 second-half points, battled through an uncharacteristically choppy stretch offensively during the same time frame, and won its semifinal game at the Phil Knight Legacy tournament, 73-59, Friday night at the Chiles Center.
Caitlin Clark picked up 29 points (including 18 in the first half), nine rebounds and eight assists.
Iowa (5-1) will face Geno Auriemma and his stable full of former McDonald’s all-Americans in its clash with No. 3 UConn for the championship at noon (CT) Sunday (ABC) at the Moda Center.
The Huskies (4-0) hammered Duke, 78-50, Friday.
An 11-time NCAA champion, UConn is averaging 87.5 points per game this year. Five Huskies are averaging in double figures, led by Azzi Fudd at 26.0 points per contest.
Iowa’s starting lineup is the same as it was in 2021, when UConn eliminated the Hawkeyes in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in the San Antonio bubble.
The Hawkeyes didn’t trail Friday night, scoring the first nine points as Oregon State (4-1) missed its first eight shots.
Oregon State tied the game on five occasions in the second quarter, the last at 27-27. But Iowa went on a 13-4 run to match its largest lead at 40-31, and took a 44-37 lead into the locker room.
The Beavers held Iowa to just three points in a nine-minute stretch to carve an 11-point deficit to 57-51, but that’s as close as they got.
OSU shot 31 percent in the second half (8 of 26).
Monika Czinano added 17 points, McKenna Warnock 12.
Talia von Oelhoffen led Oregon State with 22 points.