Connecticut's Breanna Stewart (30) shoots during college basketball practice at the women's Final Four in the NCAA Tournament Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ Mast
April 03, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Some things to watch for Sunday when UConn meets Oregon State and Syracuse faces Washington in the national semifinals:

FINAL FOUR NEWCOMERS: Oregon State, Washington and Syracuse are all playing in their first Final Fours and it will be interesting to see who can handle the big stage the best.

While the Huskies and Orange play each other, making the lack of experience a wash, the Beavers face UConn, which has made nine straight Final Four appearances.

''It's hard to miss them. They're on ESPN all the time,'' Oregon State guard Jamie Weisner said. ''It's legendary. I would say it's even an honor to play against them. In 20 years I can tell my kids that I played against that UConn team.''

UCONN'S DOMINANCE: UConn has won 73 straight games and stands two victories away from an unprecedented fourth straight national championship.

Even Breanna Stewart has been impressed by the Huskies' NCAA run. They have already set the record for most consecutive victories in the NCAA Tournament with 22. The senior group of Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson have never lost an NCAA game.

''It is really ridiculous actually,'' she said. ''When people say that my class is undefeated in postseason play in the NCAA Tournament, that's crazy to think about.''

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COLORFUL OUTFIT: Washington coach Mike Neighbors knows that there is at least one area he has no shot of beating Syracuse and that's coach's wardrobe. Quentin Hillsman is known as a snazzy dresser.

''He's going to outdress me tomorrow and there's no chance I can win that. I'm not even going to try,'' Neighbors said. ''But he's somebody that I think has done it the right way.''

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SWAT: Two of the nation's top shot blockers face off in Sunday's national semifinal between UConn and Oregon State. Oregon State's 6-foot-6 center Ruth Hamblin has blocked 124 shots this season, the third most in the nation. UConn's 6-4 Breanna Stewart ranks fourth, with 123 blocks.

''The interesting thing tomorrow would be how they attack Stewy and how we attack Ruth,'' Auriemma said. ''I'm sure we'll both have different ideas of how to do it but we'll see that tomorrow.''

Stewart said she's impressed by Hamblin's technique.

''She uses her body really well and doesn't initiate contact to get a foul and that kind of stuff,'' she said. ''And even when the ball is coming around the perimeter, she's still doing her best to contest that.''

Stewart has one of the signature moments of the tournament, blocking three shots in a single possession during the Huskies' second-round win over Duquesne.

But Hamblin said being a shot blocker herself gives her a better chance of getting her shot up against the three-time national player of the year.

''There are shots that can't be blocked, you know, the hook shot,'' she said. ''So you've got to kind of go to those so you know they can't get it because you keep your shoulders between them and their body.''

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AP Sports Writers Pat Eaton-Robb and Michael Marot contributed to this story.

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