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Women's NCAA Tournament: Bridgeport Region

UConn star Breanna Stewart, right, has a chance to end her career with four national titles.

Associated Press

UConn star Breanna Stewart, right, has a chance to end her career with four national titles.

Team to watch

There has been no better team in the nation than three-time defending champion Connecticut when it comes to tournament time and this year should be no different.

Led by star G Breanna Stewart, Geno Auerimma's top-seeded Huskies (32-0) open at home in Storrs against No. 16 Robert Morris on Saturday.

The 6-foot-4 Stewart, who has a chance to conclude her collegiate career with four rings, has averaged a team-high 19.2 points and 8.3 rebounds. She's also been a force defensively, blocking 107 shots. Senior PG Moriah Jefferson, the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year, leads UConn in assists (167) and steals (83).

UConn's biggest test could come from American rival USF, a sixth seed which was the first team in almost a year to lead the Huskies at halftime in an eventual 79-59 defeat on Feb. 29.

Still, it's hard to see any team slowing the Huskies from capturing a record 11th national title.

Upset alert

Missouri might have surprised some in making the Big Dance for the first time since 2006 after three straight WNIT appearances. But the 10th-seeded Tigers (21-9) might have gotten their most favorable matchup in No. 6 BYU, which is coming off an upset defeat to San Francisco in the West Coast Conference tournament final.

Missouri will need all it can get from junior F Jordan Frericks, who leads the team in rebounding (7.9) and free-throw percentage (67.8).

Welcome back

Hawaii (21-10) is back in the tournament for the first time since 1998 as a No. 14 seed, opening against UCLA.

Colorado State (31-1), an 11th seed, returns for the first time since 2002 and plays USF on Saturday.

Jeff Odom, Times correspondent

Players to watch

• USF senior G Courtney Williams is the program's second all-time leading scorer. The only Bull to eclipse 2,000 points, 800 boards and 300 assists, she averaged 22.3 points in three AAC tournament games.

• Mississippi State sophomore G Victoria Vivians was key in the Bulldogs' first SEC final appearance in 16 years. She averages 17.2 points.

• Michigan State G Aerial Powers is an All-America candidate and helped lift the Spartans to an upset of Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament semifinal before falling to Maryland in the final. She averages 22 points and 9.2 rebounds.

Women's NCAA Tournament: Bridgeport Region 03/14/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 9:32am]
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