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UConn women’s basketball beats Duke, advances to Elite Eight



UConn women's basketball beats Duke, advances to Elite Eight
Google News Recentlyheard

Google News Recentlyheard

PORTLAND, Ore. — Regardless of its lowest-scoring efficiency of the season, the No. 3-seeded UConn girls’s basketball staff escaped with a 53-45 win over No. 7 Duke on Saturday to advance to the Elite Eight for the twenty eighth time in 39 seasons beneath coach Geno Auriemma.

The Huskies (32-5) will face No. 1 seed USC and freshman phenom JuJu Watkins within the Elite Eight on Monday (9 p.m., ESPN) with a berth to the Remaining 4 on the road. UConn appeared within the NCAA Match’s remaining weekend for 14 consecutive seasons earlier than an upset in final yr’s Candy 16 snapped the streak. Auriemma is 22-6 all-time within the Elite Eight.

“Our job is just not completed. We’re nonetheless right here for 2 extra days and we nonetheless have one massive sport left to play,” senior level guard Nika Muhl mentioned. “I feel we’re making an attempt to remain calm and keep within the second, however in fact we’ll take pleasure in this win. It’s a giant one for us as a result of final yr we didn’t get this sense, so me personally I’m having fun with it rather a lot, however our focus has to shift now to the subsequent sport.”

Duke flexed its lock-down protection early, holding the Huskies to simply 10 factors within the first quarter on 5-for-14 taking pictures from the sector and 0-for-2 from 3-point vary. However UConn’s protection held its personal, retaining Duke to 6 factors within the opening quarter on 3-for-13 from the sector. UConn additionally drew two early fouls towards 6-3 freshman ahead Delaney Thomas, who performed simply two minutes within the quarter after checking in off the bench.

The Huskies’ offensive manufacturing didn’t enhance a lot within the second, however they had been constantly a step forward of Duke. The Blue Devils had been held scoreless for nearly six minutes of the second quarter, lastly ending the drought with 4:42 left within the half on a soar shot from Oluchi Okananwa. UConn logged solely 5 unanswered factors in that span, nevertheless it was sufficient to provide the staff a double-digit lead after two quarters.

Even with a 10-point lead, Auriemma entered the locker room at halftime on a rampage. Freshman Ashlynn Shade mentioned the legendary coach had a easy however agency message for the staff: ‘Do you need to win this sport?’

“It’s undoubtedly an adjustment, since you don’t are available as a freshman and get easy methods to feed off of his vitality,” Muhl mentioned with amusing. “It’s a studying course of to grasp what he means when he raises his voice. It took me some time to appreciate that when he does stuff like that, it’s as a result of he expects the most effective. He thinks that you are able to do extra, and that’s a praise. It’s one thing it’s a must to take to coronary heart and say ‘I acquired it, Coach.’”

Naismith Participant of the 12 months finalist Paige Bueckers led the scoring for the Huskies with 24 factors, although it was her first sport with fewer than 25 for the reason that begin of the Large East Match. All-American ahead Aaliyah Edwards additionally upheld her finish of the dynamic duo, recording 12 factors, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals. She was by far UConn’s most effective scorer making 6-for-7 from the sector.

Nonetheless, Edwards picked up a 3rd foul with beneath two minutes left within the first half, forcing  Auriemma to make his first substitution of the sport. Bueckers was additionally assessed two fouls earlier than halftime, and it confirmed within the Huskies’ hesitancy on the boards. Duke out-rebounded UConn 23-16 within the first half, and 5-11 Muhl was the Huskies’ high contributor with 4.

Regardless of foul bother, Auriemma went simply six gamers deep together with his rotation. He sat Edwards for 12 minutes with redshirt freshman Ice Brady on the ground, then gave Shade a two-minute break late within the fourth to play the bigs collectively. Each different starter performed all 40 minutes, and fatigue began to indicate within the fourth quarter as Duke closed the Huskies’ result in as few as 5 factors within the remaining minute. An extended soar shot by Edwards adopted by a defensive rebound helped seal the victory for the Huskies with seconds to play.

“The fatigue issue grew to become a giant concern, as a result of it pressured us to vary our sport plan,” Auriemma mentioned. “We acquired up 20 as a result of we simply pushed it, pushed it, pushed it, after which I felt like okay, we want a breather right here or we’re not going to have the ability to end the sport … We had been exercising, after which we determined to have a cigarette, after which we didn’t really feel like exercising anymore, so it’s exhausting for us to get again into the stream of issues.”

UConn completed taking pictures 40% from the sector and 18.8% from 3-point vary, and Edwards was the one participant to shoot above 50%. KK Arnold emerged because the Huskies’ No. 3 menace towards Duke with 12 factors, three rebounds and 4 assists. She was additionally a menace on protection, logging a team-high 5 steals in direction of Duke’s 23 whole turnovers. UConn scored 23 factors off turnovers whereas giving up simply six factors off 13 misplaced possessions.

“Coming into the sport, Coach mentioned we wished to ‘purple’ every little thing, which is our strain protection the place we attempt to deny and take away passes and play tremendous aggressive,” Shade mentioned. “I feel that helped us get loads of the turnovers particularly early within the sport when it felt prefer it was so back-and-forth, in order that was undoubtedly a purpose coming in.”

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