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Analysis: UConn 28, Stanford 24

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- UConn leads Stanford 28-24 at halftime. A look at how the first half went down:

How the half was won: The first 20 minutes were not an artistic success, and Connecticut only led very early and then for the final three minutes. The Huskies really only played well on offense for one late stretch. However, the defense remained steady and eventually slowed Stanford, which scored just two points in the final 5:38.

Player of the half: The best player on the floor in the first half was Stanford's Lili Thompson. She led the Cardinal with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting. The freshman guard was the only Stanford player to find any sort of rhythm.

Turning point: UConn senior Bria Hartley and sophomore Breanna Stewart struggled through the first half. But with 4:42 remaining, Hartley pulled up and hit a 3-pointer and UConn and its fans came to life. That ignited a 12-0 run; UConn went from trailing 22-16 to leading by six points. Stewart hit a jumper and a layup off a steal in the outburst.

Key stat: UConn was 11-for-28 from the field. Much of the first half was reminiscent of the Sweet 16 game against BYU when the shots weren't falling and the Cougars hung around. When the Huskies aren't making some jump shots, they look much more ordinary.

Three things Connecticut has to do to win:
1. Get Stewart more engaged. She started to come alive in the final three minutes of the half, but this version of Stewart -- at least so far -- is a far cry from last year's Final Four Stewart.
2. Shoot it better. It's a simple game when you make shots, and UConn couldn't in the first half. If a few more of those jumpers fall, the Huskies will look much more like the Huskies everyone expected to see.
3. Get to the rim. When UConn was struggling, the entire offense was relying on perimeter shots. During the run Stewart, Stefanie Dolson, and Kiah Stokes all had layups.

Three things Stanford has to do to win
1. Find Chiney. Ogwumike's touches were limited and she scored just four points while playing all 20 minutes. She was 2-for-5 from the field and didn't get to the free throw line.
2. Get better looks. Early on, Stanford was getting the ball inside the foul line and using its screens well. For the final 10-12 minutes, too many times the shot clock was winding down and the Cardinal settled for long, low-percentage shots by Amber Orrange or Mikaela Ruef.
3. Get to the free throw line. This isn't so easy because UConn is so good at not fouling, but it is clear the Huskies aren't going to allow many easy shots. If Stanford can get the ball inside a little more and draw some contact the Cardinal will have a better chance at staying in the game. Stanford did not attempt a single free throw before halftime.