HARTFORD, Conn. - Ann Strother scored nine of her 20 points in the final seven minutes to lead No. 9 Connecticut to a 50-44 win Tuesday night over West Virginia in the Big East Conference championship, ending the Mountaineers' surprising postseason run.
The 12th-seeded Mountaineers ended their regular season with an eight-game losing streak and were the lowest seed to make the final.
They upset Louisville, DePaul and top-seeded Rutgers in their remarkable march to the final and did it without leading scorer Meg Bulger, lost in January to a season-ending knee injury.
Freshman Renee Montgomery finished with 11 points for the Huskies, and Barbara Turner played a solid inside game with 10 rebounds.
The scrappy Mountaineers made the Huskies (29-4) work hard for their 13th tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament but were eventually done in by poor shooting and turnovers down the stretch.
Strother was named the tournament's most outstanding player.
It was the lowest score to win the title in the tournament's 23-year history.
SUN BELT CHAMPIONSHIP MIDDLE TENNESSEE 84, WESTERN KENTUCKY 73
IN MURFREESBORO, TENN., CHRISSY GIVENS HAD 24 POINTS AND 12 REBOUNDS TO LEAD MIDDLE TENNESSEE TO ITS THIRD STRAIGHT NCAA TOURNAMENT BERTH WITH A VICTORY OVER WESTERN KENTUCKY IN THE SUN BELT CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE (20-10) BECAME THE FIRST SUN BELT TEAM TO win three consecutive tournament titles since Western Kentucky in 1991-93.
MID-CONTINENT CHAMPIONSHIP OAKLAND 65, WESTERN ILLINOIS 56
IN TULSA, OKLA., ANNE HAFELI MATCHED HER CAREER HIGH WITH 25 POINTS AND NICOLE PIGGOTT ADDED 14 POINTS AND NINE REBOUNDS AS OAKLAND UPSET TOP-SEEDED WESTERN ILLINOIS TO WIN THE MID-CONTINENT CONFERENCE TITLE GAME AND ADVANCE TO THE NCAA TOURNAMENT.
ZANE TEILANE SCORED A CAREER-HIGH 28 POINTS AND SET A CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT RECORD WITH 22 REBOUNDS FOR WESTERN ILLINOIS (23-6), BUT THE WESTERWINDS LOST IN THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT AFTER WINNING THE REGULAR-SEASON TITLE FOR THE FOURTH SEASON IN A ROW.
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