Alexis Peterson scored 18 points and Brittney Sykes added 17 to help Syracuse roll past Washington 80-59 and into the program’s first women’s national championship game.
The Orange (30-7) will face UConn, the three-time defending champions, on Tuesday night in Indianapolis. The Huskies set a semifinal round record with a 29-point victory over Pac-12 champion Oregon State in the early game.
Syracuse made it look almost as easy.
The story line looked awfully familiar.
In their first meeting this season, Syracuse built a 21-point lead before Washington rallied to within one. The Orange held on for a 66-62 victory.
This time, Syracuse never let it get that close.
When Washington cut the halftime deficit to 43-31, Peterson hit a 3 to start a 9-4 spurt that made it 52-35. When the Huskies got within 11, Syracuse used a 15-2 run to make it 67-43. And when Washington closed to 72-59 midway through the fourth quarter, Sykes and Brianna Butler made back-to-back 3s to seal it.
Now the Orange will try to prevent their former Big East foe, UConn, from winning a fourth straight national title and finishing another perfect season.
The two teams came into the night averaging 16.2 3-pointers. They nearly matched that total in the first half and wound up combining for 23. Syracuse made 12 and broke UConn’s 15-year-old record most 3-point attempts in a Final Four game. UConn had 31 in a semifinal game against Notre Dame. Washington finished 11 of 25. Until Sunday, only two teams had ever made 11 in a Final Four game.
That player is Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin, who was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week for his performances over the last seven days. In his last three games, Panarin has racked up eight points, with three goals and five assists over that span.
Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks was named the league’s Second Star of the Week, and Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matthew Murray was the league’s Third Star.
The Blackhawks’ offense was struggling to score goals on a consistent basis as the season drew closer to its end, but Panarin and Patrick Kane have helped things get back on track in the team’s last two games. Kane notched a hat trick and reached the 100-point plateau in Sunday’s win over the Boston Bruins, and Panarin added a goal and three assists as the Hawks clinched at least the third spot in the Central Division standings.