RICHMOND, Virginia (Ticker) -- Top-seeded Connecticut used a dominating performance in the second half and clinched its fourth Final Four berth with an 86-71 triumph over No. 3 seed Louisiana State in the East Region Final.
The Huskies pulled away in the second half and are headed to the Final Four for the first time since 1996. They will face Midwest Region champion Penn State in the national semifinals Friday in Philadelphia.
Svetlana Abrosimova scored a season high-tying 25 points, Sue Bird chipped in 16 and Shea Ralph 15 for Connecticut (34-1), which has won 15 straight games and is one victory shy of tying a school record for the most in one season. The 1994-95 squad went undefeated to claim the school's only national title.
The Huskies were eliminated in the regional finals in 1997 and 1998 and upset by Iowa State in last season's Mideast Region semifinals.
Connecticut shot 60 percent (12-of-20) from the floor in the second half and made 14-of-20 free throws. LSU converted just 36 percent (12-of-33) in the final 20 minutes, hit 4-of-8 from the line and only 2-of-8 3-pointers.
April Brown scored 18 of her 23 points in the first half and Marie Ferdinand added 17 overall for LSU (25-7), which fell to 0-2 in regional finals. The Lady Tigers dropped a 67-65 decision to Tennessee in the 1986 Mideast Region final.
DeTrina White hit a jumper to bring LSU with 58-52 with 12:23 left. But that was as close as it got as the Huskies used a 17-6 spurt to open a 75-58 lead with 6:05 left.
Shea Ralph scored eight points in the deciding run, including the last five. She buried a pair of free throws with 6:49 remaining and nailed a 3-pointer on the next possession.
Abrosimova shot 9-of-13 from the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, to help the Huskies hit 57 percent (29-of-51) overall and drill 9-of-16 3-pointers.
The Lady Tigers shot a blistering 74 percent (17-of-23) in the first half but trailed 46-41. Brown was 9-of-16 overall and Ferdinand 7-of-14 to help LSU finish at 52 percent (29-of-56).
It was the first meeting between the schools.