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



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

PORTLAND, Ore. —The UConn girls’s basketball dynasty proved itself alive and nicely at Moda Middle on Monday because the No. 3 seed Huskies upset No. 1 seed USC 80-73 to advance to a Division I document twenty third Closing 4 below 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 sport in 2022, the place it completed runner-up to South Carolina.

“In the present day was one of the vital rewarding emotions I’ve ever felt in my life, simply seeing the place I used to be a yr in the past right now … Now I’m right here with my teammates and training employees 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 robust 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 manner.”

The Huskies began off sluggish, permitting an 8-0 run early within the first quarter to path by as many as 9 factors. Taking pictures 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 along with her. The Huskies senior had 15 factors at halftime on 5-for-11 capturing, additionally main the group 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 event 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.

“In the present day (Paige) was enjoying in opposition to anyone who performs like they’re superhuman. I feel JuJu was in all probability the hardest matchup that any of these guards had all through your complete season — possibly since they’ve gotten to Connecticut,” Auriemma stated. “However for Paige, that is what (she) lives for … When you’ve gotten gamers that assume like there’s nothing I can’t do, there’s nothing that escapes me, they’re simply on one other degree. They play the sport on one other degree. They assume on a special degree. They encourage everyone round them.”

UConn’s protection restricted Watkins within the first quarter to simply 5 factors, and so they exploited the rookie on the dribble forcing 4 turnovers in opposition to her. The USC star was held to simply three factors your 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 night time, so we’re not going to carry her to 10. We simply can’t let her get 40, and it may well’t be straightforward,” Auriemma stated. “We tried to have anyone all the time within the common neighborhood every time she received 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 feel we made her work exceptionally exhausting.”

Freshman Ashlynn Shade struggled to shake a capturing stoop 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 getting 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 Huge East Match. 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 important to the defensive effort on Watkins and logged eight factors on 3-for-4 capturing in 18 minutes.

However with simply eight gamers accessible, foul hassle rapidly turned 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 enjoying with a minimum of two fouls by the tip of the third. Nonetheless, 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 need to put KK in an inconceivable scenario as a freshman. I simply crossed my fingers and prayed,” Auriemma stated. “As a result of she did that in shoot-around right now. She did one thing silly and fouled anyone and I misplaced my thoughts. She goes, I gained’t try this tonight. I stated, Sure, you’ll. I’ve seen it over 4 years … Did I belief she would have the ability 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 getting 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 last 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 sport with 16 seconds remaining.

“When all of it comes collectively, it’s only a lovely factor. I used to be actually shocked by the celebration. That was fairly cool,” Auriemma stated. “You’ll be able to inform it nonetheless means quite a bit you realize? We did it 3,000 information from house. God forbid. Nobody ever thought we may win a sport exterior of Storrs, Connecticut. I’m glad we have been capable of win one out right here.”

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