STORRS, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Top-seeded Connecticut won its 16th straight home game in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the "Sweet 16" for the seventh year in a row with its latest rout, 83-45 over No. 9 Clemson in the East Region.
The Huskies (32-1) have won 13 straight overall and have not fallen in the NCAA Tournament at Gampel Pavilion since 1993. They will face Purdue or Oklahoma in the regional semifinals on Saturday in Richmond, Virginia.
Sue Bird, who scored only eight points in Friday's 116-45 rout of Hampton, has six during a 15-5 run that gave Connecticut a 29-9 cushion with 5:20 left in the first half. The Huskies shot 46 percent (13-of-28) in the opening 20 minutes en route to a 44-17 lead.
"I think we are in the type of program that thinks this is supposed to happen to," Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said. "We take it as our obligation." Clemson (19-12) shot just 14 percent (3-of-21) in the first half as it failed to record its third straight 20-win season. The Tigers had more than twice as many turnovers (27) as field goals (10), dropping to 1-2 against Connecticut and 13-13 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
"I wasn't really happy with the way we played tonight," Clemson coach Jim Davis said. "I want to commend Connecticut for the way they played tonight. They have a program that most programs want to start." Bird scored 16 points, Shea Ralph added 15 and Swin Cash 10 for the Huskies, who shot 51 percent (27-of-53) and outscored the Tigers in the paint, 32-6.
"I don't think I have coached a player who could shoot the ball better," Auriemma said of Bird. "She plays like a guy. There aren't many female players that can play like that." Chrissy Floyd was the only player in double figures for Clemson with 13 points. The Tigers failed to reach the regional semifinals one year after topping Illinois in the second round.