Even the depth of ASU's front line couldn't slow the dominant front court of Connecticut. UConn (37-0) out-rebounded the Devils 24-6 in the first half and 45-19 for the game.
"We talked about how in order to win this game we needed to rebound and we just didn't do that," said ASU guard Danielle Orsillo, "Maybe if we would have chosen to rebound, it would have been better."
Despite that stat, the Devils played UConn just about as close and competitive as anybody has all season. The Huskies' 19 point win is still 11 points under their average margin of victory. UConn is just that good. For the first time since the Pac 10 Tournament, ASU really missed Dymond Simon's defensive ability and Briann January showed signs of her ankle not being healthy.
The Devils (26-9) kept it close in the first half thanks to 12 Connecticut turnovers and All-American Renee Montgomery in foul trouble.
ASU was within one at 20-19 before Maya Moore started her big night. Moore, who was named 1st Team All-American earlier in the day, started a 9-2 run that put the Huskies up 29-21 with 3:55 to play in the half. Danielle Orsillo knocked down a three to make it 29-24, but Moore rattled off five straight of her own, including a three that gave her the single season scoring record at Connecticut.
ASU struggled from beyond the arc in the first half, hitting just two of their first ten attempts, but it was the three that kept them around.
ASU hit three straight, including one from senior Nia Fanaika off a pass from Briann January that cut the lead to just 8 with 10:47 to play. But every time the Devils had a run, Maya Moore had an answer. She hit two straight threes of her own and under a minute later the lead was up to 65-51.
Renee Montgomery put UConn up 16 with a layup and sealed the deal for the Huskies. Moore and Montgomery scored 16 straight points to send the Huskies to St. Louis.
"Coming out of a timeout coach said let's go on a run," said Montgomery, "We're going to push the ball every time I get it. It's hard for people to guard us. You have a post player guarding Maya. She stops and hits a 3."
Moore finished with 25 points and Montgomery added 22. Tina Charles completed the terrific trio by adding 18 points and 13 rebounds.
"Once she makes (a three pointer) one you know she's taking the next one. When those two go in everything she touches is going in," said UConn Head Coach Gino Auriemma about Maya Moore and the stretch she dominated the game, "It happens so quickly, so easily, so effortlessly. Other kids struggle to get those shots. It's just effortless. She's just running up and down the floor and doing things we all wish we could do."
That trio of Moore, Montgomery and Charles outscored Arizona State as a team, 65-64. They scored just 40 points against Cal in their regional semifinal win on Sunday.
Danielle Orsillo led the way for the Devils with 18 points and January added 12. Both were named to the All-Regional team, along with Montgomery and Moore, who was the Most Outstanding Player.
For the Devils, the loss does nothing to dampen the incredible season and postseason ASU had. It even extends off of the basketball court, as these incredible young ladies became as close as a family. They went through many obstacles, from starting 8-6 and 0-2 in the Pac 10 to losing Dymond Simon in the last regular season game.
"We definitely had to face some obstacles this year. One thing we can take is how our team came together and grew so much," said senior Briann January who will exit Tempe as one of the best, if not the best to ever wear the maroon and gold, "We got so close as a team and that's what allowed us to be so successful and make a run in this tournament as we did."