Published March 27. 2012 5:58PM Updated March 27. 2012 10:24PM
Sean D. Elliot/The Day
UConn's Caroline Doty, left, Kia Stokes, back, and Tiffany Hayes, right, congratulate Kelly Faris after her last-second of the first half shot after a length-of-court pass from Hayes against Kentucky in NCAA Kingston Regional final action Tuesday, March 27, 2012.
Kingston, R.I. — Top-seeded UConn broke open a tight game with a dominating second-half performance to defeat No. 2 Kentucky 80-65 in the Kingston Regional championship game on Tuesday night.
The Huskies will make their fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Final Four starting Sunday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver against the winner of Tuesday night's late game between Notre Dame and Maryland.
UConn will be in search of its eighth national title and first since 2010.
The Huskies were clinging to a 48-47 lead with 16:20 left when they went on a 12-2 run, holding Kentucky without a field goal for nearly seven minutes in opening a 60-49 lead. The Wildcats would never get closer than eight points the rest of the night.
Tiffany Hayes, UConn's only senior, led the Huskies with 22 points and eight rebounds while freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 18 points and sophomores Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson finished with 13 apiece. UConn also went 30-for-35 from the foul line.
Samarie Walker, a UConn transfer, led Kentucky with 14 points and Kastine Evans, a sophomore from Norwich Free Academy, finished with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.