UConn women beat Purdue in second round, 64-40

UConn women beat Purdue in second round, 64-40

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Tiffany Hayes scored 23 points, Maya Moore added 16 and No. 1 Connecticut put on a defensive clinic to beat ninth-seeded Purdue 64-40 on Tuesday night in the second round of the women's NCAA tournament.

The Huskies (33-1) advanced to the regional semifinals for the 18th straight season, the longest active streak in the nation. The victory was UConn's 22nd straight overall and 83rd in a row at home.

Moore and fellow senior Lorin Dixon were playing their final game at Gampel Pavilion. The pair became the first UConn seniors to finish unbeaten at home, going 40-0 at their on-campus arena. The duo also went undefeated on their other home court, the XL Center in Hartford.

The two improved to an unbelievable 148-3 overall in their careers.

Drey Mingo scored nine points to lead Purdue (21-12).

The Huskies will play in Philadelphia on Sunday against No. 4-seed Maryland or fifth-seeded Georgetown. Duke will face DePaul in the other semifinal in Philadelphia.

Leading 9-7 with 13:47 left in the first half, UConn held Purdue to one field goal over the next 13 minutes to extend its advantage to 26-11 on Hayes' free throw.

Usually when the Huskies turn up their defensive pressure is when they blow games open with quick runs. This was more of a slow walk, thanks to a strong defensive effort by Purdue.

UConn, which averaged 77.6 points a game, had to scrap for every point. Hayes had eight points during the spurt and Hartley added five. Her 3-pointer with 6:15 left in the half made it 21-9. That was the last basket the Huskies would get before the break, but they hit seven free throws down the stretch to give themselves a 15-point halftime lead.

Antionette Howard's layup with 8:26 left in the half was the only basket Purdue would get before Mingo scored with 22 seconds left. Moore's two free throws with a tenth of a second left gave UConn a 28-13 lead at the break. It was the fewest points in a first half ever for the Boilermakers. They had 14 against Ohio State in 1976.

UConn opened the second half with a 19-3 run to put the game away. Hayes had two 3-pointers to start the burst and hit another 3 with 12:51 left to close it, giving UConn a 47-16 lead.

Hayes had outscored Purdue 21-16 at that point.

The Boilermakers could only get within 23 the rest of the game, barely surpassing their previous low-point total of 28 set in that game 35 years ago against the Buckeyes.

Moore's three-point play with 4:57 left moved her into eighth place on the NCAA career scoring list. She passed Valorie Whiteside of Appalachian State, who had 2,944 points.

The Huskies held Purdue to just 26 percent shooting (14 for 54) and outrebounded the Boilermakers 55-30, including grabbing 23 offensive boards.

Moore finished with 13 rebounds and Stefanie Dolson had 10 to go along with 11 points.

This was the Boilermakers' sixth straight loss to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. They fell to Oklahoma in the regional final in 2009 and didn't make the tournament last season.

The loss ended an inspiring season for the Boilermakers. Mingo went down in November with a life-threatening case of meningitis. Given about a 50-percent chance of survival, she returned to the court just 16 days later.

Despite significant hearing loss, she played well to the end of the season. Mingo had 16 points in the Boilermakers' opening-round win over Kansas State.
-- The Associated Press

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.