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UConn women’s basketball beats USC, advance to Final Four



UConn women's basketball beats USC, advance to Final Four
Google News Recentlyheard

Google News Recentlyheard

PORTLAND, Ore. —The UConn ladies’s basketball dynasty proved itself alive and properly at Moda Middle on Monday because the No. 3 seed Huskies upset No. 1 seed USC 80-73 to advance to a Division I report twenty third Closing 4 underneath coach Geno Auriemma.

After a devastating upset Candy 16 ended UConn’s 14-year streak of Closing 4 appearances final season, the Huskies are returning to the ultimate weekend of March Insanity to face Albany 2 regional champion Iowa on Friday in Cleveland. UConn final superior to the nationwide championship recreation in 2022, the place it completed runner-up to South Carolina.

“As we speak was one of the rewarding emotions I’ve ever felt in my life, simply seeing the place I used to be a 12 months in the past right this moment … Now I’m right here with my teammates and training workers and going to the Closing 4,” famous person guard Paige Bueckers stated. “It’s been a really rewarding journey, and I’m tremendous, tremendous grateful for all of it. The powerful occasions made me who I’m. It’s constructed my religion. It’s constructed my appreciation for all times and gratitude for something that will get thrown my means.”

The Huskies began off sluggish, permitting an 8-0 run early within the first quarter to path by as many as 9 factors. Capturing was an issue for each groups, however particularly for UConn going 0-for-4 from 3-point vary. The Huskies shot 6-for-15 from the sphere and trailed the Trojans 17-15 after 1 / 4, although USC went simply 6-for-18 from the sphere and 1-for-6 from 3-point vary.

Bueckers exploded into the second quarter, however USC’s freshman phenom JuJu Watkins went together with her. The Huskies senior had 15 factors at halftime on 5-for-11 capturing, additionally main the staff in assists with 4. Watkins went almost shot for shot with Bueckers, going 4-for-8 for 13 factors plus 4 rebounds.

Bueckers continued to dominate out of halftime, ending with 28 factors capturing 11-for-23 plus 3-for-6 on 3-pointers. She logged her third double-double of the match with 10 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. All-American ahead Aaliyah Edwards additionally powered the second-half effort, ending with 28 factors, six rebounds and two steals.

“As we speak (Paige) was taking part in in opposition to anyone who performs like they’re superhuman. I believe JuJu was in all probability the hardest matchup that any of these guards had all through the complete season — perhaps since they’ve gotten to Connecticut,” Auriemma stated. “However for Paige, that is what (she) lives for … When you have got gamers that assume like there’s nothing I can’t do, there’s nothing that escapes me, they’re simply on one other stage. They play the sport on one other stage. They assume on a special stage. They encourage all people round them.”

UConn’s protection restricted Watkins within the first quarter to only 5 factors, they usually exploited the rookie on the dribble forcing 4 turnovers in opposition to her. The USC star was held to only three factors the complete third quarter, although she put up 13 within the fourth to complete with 29 factors, 10 rebounds and two blocks.

“The child will get 25 each evening, so we’re not going to carry her to 10. We simply can’t let her get 40, and it may possibly’t be straightforward,” Auriemma stated. “We tried to have anyone all the time within the normal neighborhood at any time when she bought the ball and put it on the ground and began going. It was by no means going to be her simply attacking anyone one-on-one. However she’s so good at attending to her spots … and creating contact, ending by contact. She simply doesn’t play like a freshman in any respect … however I believe we made her work exceptionally arduous.”

Freshman Ashlynn Shade struggled to shake a capturing droop that left her with zero factors within the Candy 16, and coach Geno Auriemma introduced Qadence Samuels off the bench 4 minutes into the primary for her first look because the Huskies’ first-round matchup with Jackson State. The freshman delivered, draining UConn’s first 3-pointer of the sport with six minutes left within the first half to increase an 8-0 run that helped the Huskies to a 33-33 impasse coming into the halftime locker room.

Auriemma leaned on his bench greater than he has at another level within the postseason, even amid 20-plus level blowouts through the Massive East Event. Redshirt freshman Ice Brady checked in alongside Samuels halfway by the second quarter, marking the primary time that UConn performed a number of reserves collectively because the fourth quarter in opposition to Jackson State. Brady was vital to the defensive effort on Watkins and logged eight factors on 3-for-4 capturing in 18 minutes.

However with simply eight gamers obtainable, foul bother rapidly grew to become a priority for the Huskies within the second half. Senior level guard Nika Muhl was assessed her fourth with greater than two minutes left within the third quarter, and all 5 starters have been taking part in with a minimum of two fouls by the top of the third. Nevertheless, the Huskies made it to the ultimate buzzer with no single participant fouling out, whereas USC misplaced beginning ahead Kaitlyn Davis to a fifth foul within the final 30 seconds.

“KK had 4 fouls and Nika had 4 fouls, and there it did cross my thoughts, I do know she’s going to foul out and I’m going to must put KK in an not possible state of affairs as a freshman. I simply crossed my fingers and prayed,” Auriemma stated. “As a result of she did that in shoot-around right this moment. She did one thing silly and fouled anyone and I misplaced my thoughts. She goes, I received’t do this tonight. I stated, Sure, you’ll. I’ve seen it over 4 years … Did I belief she would be capable to do it? No, however I prayed.”

USC refused to let UConn draw back as Kaitlyn Padilla adopted up a nook 3-pointer from Brady with a buzzer-beating three on the finish of the third quarter to make it 55-51 UConn coming into the fourth. The Trojans tied the sport at 59 factors with seven minutes left to play, however Bueckers responded with 5 unanswered factors to open up one other double-digit lead.

The Huskies had a near-disaster within the closing seconds, permitting a 7-0 run with seven missed free throws within the final minute of the sport, however Muhl ended the scoreless streak by making two baskets on the line to make it a 7-point recreation with 16 seconds remaining.

“When all of it comes collectively, it’s only a lovely factor. I used to be actually bowled over by the celebration. That was fairly cool,” Auriemma stated. “You possibly can inform it nonetheless means so much ? We did it 3,000 information from house. God forbid. Nobody ever thought we may win a recreation exterior of Storrs, Connecticut. I’m glad we have been in a position to win one out right here.”

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