Albany, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Dayton head coach Jim Jabir was optimistic before his team went up against Connecticut in what looked like an Elite Eight mismatch, saying, "We would not play the game if we didn't have a chance to win."
The Flyers made believers of everyone watching the first half of the Albany Region final, going toe-to-toe against the immensely talented Huskies before eventually succumbing to the perennial powerhouse.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis poured in 27 points, Breanna Stewart was terrific on both ends of the floor and top-seeded UConn pulled away for a 91-70 win to reach its eighth straight Final Four.
Mosqueda-Lewis broke the all-time record with the fifth of her seven 3- pointers, giving her 395 in her career to surpass the mark set by Kansas State's Laurie Koehn and tied by UT Martin's Heather Butler last year.
Stewart finished with 23 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks, while Morgan Tuck added 23 points for the two-time defending champions (36-1), who will play Maryland next Sunday in Tampa.
Seventh-seeded Dayton (28-7), which was playing in its first regional final, had five players score in double figures. Ally Malott had 14 points and Kelley Austria chipped in 11, but both were held scoreless over the final 20 minutes.
There were 15 lead changes and 10 ties in a breathless, back-and-forth first half. Dayton shot a stunning 51.4 percent from the floor, 7-of-10 from 3-point range, and scored the final six points to take a 44-43 lead into the break.
The Huskies, whose opponents averaged just 47.6 points coming in, trailed at halftime in an NCAA Tournament game for the first time since the Sweet 16 in 2011. The 44 points were the most they surrendered in any half since 2008.
The Flyers, however, punched themselves tired as they made just 37.0 percent of their shots and committed nine turnovers after the break. UConn scored the first nine points to take the lead and never relinquished it.
Mosqueda-Lewis made her record-setting 3-pointer just before a 10-0 run that stretched UConn's lead to 74-57, and the Huskies cruised over the final eight minutes.
UConn has won 35 straight games and has reached the Final Four 16 times.