BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- As time wound down on the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's 90-52 rout of Oregon in the NCAA tournament Bridgeport Regional final at sold-out Webster Bank Arena, coach Geno Auriemma mentioned to his players that it was the Huskies' 10th straight Final Four berth.
Newly-minted All-American Katie Lou Samuelson, who has been ridden hard by Auriemma for two seasons now, was not impressed.
"You suck. You're not very good at this," Samuelson said to the Hall of Fame coach with full sarcasm.
"Katie Lou didn't think it was such a big deal," Auriemma said with a smile. "When you're 2-for-2 like she is and I'm -for-32 that makes her better than me."
It would be hard to imagine anyone being better than the top-seeded Huskies were Monday night.
Regional Most Outstanding Player and All-American Napheesa Collier led the way with 28 points -- including the 1,000th of her career, 12 rebounds and four blocks for her second straight double-double. The Huskies' third All-American, forward Gabby Williams, had 25 points and was named to the all-tournament team. Saniya Chong was the Huskies' third representative on the all-tournament team as she finished with 11 points. Kia Nurse contributed 11 points, seven assists to no turnovers, and an outstanding defensive effort against Oregon freshman standout Sabrina Ionescu.
"Right from the opening tap we just had a look and a feel about how we were playing and what we were trying to do," Auriemma said. "I couldn't be happier for this group. They had a lot of question marks coming into the season, but maybe they didn't have any in their own minds. Everybody else did, including me. They have seemed to answer every single one of those questions and they deserve to be in the Final Four."
UConn (36-0), winners of 111 straight, will take on Oklahoma City Regional champion Mississippi State in the second game of Friday's national semifinal doubleheader at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Stanford and South Carolina will meet in the opener, with the Gamecocks punching their ticket Monday night with a win over Florida State in the Stockton (California) Regional final.
It is the Huskies' 18th Final Four appearance overall, tying Tennessee for the most in NCAA tournament history. The Lady Vols had an 18-9 lead on the Huskies after winning the 2008 national championship.
Auriemma also moved past late Tennessee Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt with his 113th NCAA tournament victory and passed North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell for third place on the all-time wins list with 991.
Chong and fellow senior Tierney Lawlor became the NCAA's all-time leaders for wins by a class in a four-year span with their 152nd victory, breaking a tie with UConn's Class of 2016.
They left no doubt.
"It felt really good to have a really good win knowing we played well and doing the things we needed to do," Collier said. "Going to the Final Four in itself is exciting but knowing we did it the right made it feel good to the next level."
Tenth-seeded Oregon was trying to become the first double-digit seed to reach the national semifinals and become the first team to eliminate the top three seeds in a regional since Minnesota in 2004 to get there.
The Ducks were decked early.
"Our defense established the tone," Collier said. "We really tried to be disruptive and keep them from doing what they wanted to do."
Two 3-pointers by Chong, a trey by Collier, two free throws by Williams and hoops from Collier, Williams, and Chong made up a 17-0 run that gave UConn a 23-4 lead.
Oregon did not know what hit it.
"They're elite," Oregon guard Lexi Bando said. "There's something about them that I've never faced before. They never take a play off. They're constantly coming at you. They don't care if they beat you by 100. We struggled with it.
"It's built into them to play hard all the time and that is what we want Oregon basketball to be."
Nurse made life miserable for Ionescu, the top freshman in the country. Five of the rookie's six turnovers came in the decisive first half as UConn turned 17 first-half miscues by the Ducks into 28 points in building a 49-24 advantage.
"It was a tough challenge," Nurse said of defending Ionescu. "Obviously she's a great matchup. She's quick, reads ball screens extremely well and offensively she's a smart player. I tried to limit her touches as much as possible, read the screens and understand the plays that we went over in the scout. My teammates did a great job of switching out hard and making sure we maintained that."
UConn assistant coach Marisa Moseley was in charge of putting together the scouting report of Oregon.
The Huskies limited Bando, one of the top 3-point shooters in the country, to one attempt -- which she banked in -- in 31 minutes. Samuelson and Williams combined for nine steals as openings the Ducks thought they saw closed quickly.
"They are probably the best scouters in the country," Bando said. "They keyed in. Like, 'Bando is a shooter, let's take her out.' And they are always in passing lanes and denying the ball. They're like the best defensive team in the country and it showed tonight."
Oregon (23-14) got no closer in the second half.
Collier became the seventh UConn sophomore to reach the 1,000-point plateau when she hit a jumper with 6:46 left. She did not know she had reached four figures until associate head coach Chris Dailey informed her on the bench. The St. Peters, Missouri, native is also the fourth Husky to join the 1,000-point club this season joining Nurse, Williams, and Samuelson. The only other time UConn had four players get to four figures in a season was in 2005.
"Pheesa just feels confident every shot is going in," Samuelson said. "We joke, 'Why do teams leave her open? She's going to make every shot.' If teams are going to continue that, we're happy because I trust her to make all the shots she takes."
Ionescu finished with 15 points and eight rebounds for Oregon. Freshman Ruthy Hebard had 12 points.
"I think we had our team ready. We were confident going in," Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. "Just kind of the shock of how good they are got us on our heels quickly."
The Huskies will leave for Dallas on Tuesday. They won the only meeting with Mississippi State 98-38 in last year's Sweet 16.
The Bulldogs won't have to face UConn's Big Three of a year ago, but the current group of Huskies have proven to be formidable.
"I can't say enough about each and every one of them," Auriemma said. "There's something unique about them right now. They deserve all this and they don't have to share it with anyone. It's all theirs."