Connecticut advanced to the Final Four with a dazzling first-half display Monday on the way to beating Old Dominion 85-64.
The No. 1 ranked and top-seeded Huskies (37-0) made their first 13 shots and first five free throws to take a 34-14 lead less than 10 minutes into the Mideast Region final.
"Everything went our way, everything was just clicking," said Sue Bird, who scored a career-high 26 and had 11 assists. "We were running our break, running our offense and getting a lot of layups. And considering it was the biggest game of the year, that's the best we've played."
And the best team in the country playing its best basketball of the year was the last thing the Monarchs needed.
With a dominating display of crisp passing and accurate shooting, the Huskies jumped to a 20-4 lead in less than five minutes. They sank 19 of their first 21 shots before "settling" for a 75 percent mark (21-of-28) at halftime, when they were up 55-33.
"We dug ourselves a huge hole," Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry said. "The University of Connecticut's first 20 minutes is some of the finest basketball I think I've ever witnessed."
The Huskies were in cruise control after halftime. Their lead never dipped below 14 as they finished at 63.8 percent shooting.
The Huskies play Tennessee, the Midwest Region winner, Friday in San Antonio in search of their third NCAA title and second unbeaten season under coach Geno Auriemma, who won championships in 1995 and 2000. It's the third Final Four appearance for seniors Bird, Asjha Jones, Swin Cash and Tamika Williams, considered the top recruiting class in the game's history.
Old Dominion was seeking its first Final Four trip since losing to Tennessee in the 1997 championship.
But Lucienne Berthieu, the Monarchs' leading scorer and second-leading rebounder, had just six points and four rebounds after getting into early foul trouble and spending most of the night on the bench.
She didn't check into the game after halftime until 11:33 remained and the Monarchs trailed 68-50.