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UConn women’s basketball 2021 No. 1 UConn women39;s basketball team blows past No. 5 Iowa 92.72 .

UConn women's basketball 2021 No. 1 UConn women39;s basketball team blows past No. 5 Iowa 92.72 .
paige bueckers

UConn women’s basketball 2021 No. 1 UConn women39;s basketball team blows past No. 5 Iowa 92.72 .

UConn women’s basketball UConn women’s basketball No. past team blows … UConn 92-72 basketball 5 women's Iowa 1 No.

Sat, 27 Mar 2021 11:00:00 -0700

No

. 1 UConn women's basketball team blew past

No

.

5 Iowa 92-72 in Sweet 16; Christyn Williams led the way with 27; Paige Bueckers narrowly missed 

The conversation leading up to Saturday’s Sweet 16 showdown between No.

1 UConn and No.

5 Iowa was centered around each team’s star freshman — the Huskies’ Paige Bueckers and the Hawkeyes’ Caitlin Clark.

Bueckers leads her team in scoring and was named an AP All-American.

Clark leads the nation in scoring, and was a second-team All-American.

After slow starts, both finished strong.

But it was a different guard who stole the game.

That would be Christyn Williams.

Williams, a former No.

1 overall recruit and junior for the Huskies, scored a game-high 27 points, was the primary defender assigned to Clark and sparked a handful of UConn runs as the Huskies beat the Hawkeyes, 92-72.

“I just go with the flow of the game,” Williams said.

“My goal for every game is just go out and be aggressive on both ends of the floor.

If I’m aggressive at all times, then most of the time I’m successful with it.”

In the battle of the top freshmen, Bueckers finished just short of a triple-double with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Clark led her team with 21 points and added three rebounds and five assists.

UConn’s other star freshman, Aaliyah Edwards, finished with 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting.

Edwards was starting again for fellow freshman Nika Muhl, who missed her second straight tournament game after an ankle injury against High Point in Round 1.

“If it wasn’t for Aaliyah Edwards, we wouldn’t be here today,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma, who rejoined the team Wednesday after missing the first two tournament games against High Point and Syracuse after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Here’s how the Huskies did it:

UConn (27-1) held a 49-35 halftime lead, but Iowa — the nation’s top 3-point shooting team, and the second-best shooting team overall — was due for a run.

The Hawkeyes outscored UConn 26-23 in the third quarter as Clark (12 points in the period on 4 of 5 shooting) led the way.

But with each Iowa 3-pointer or run it made in the second half, the Huskies had an answer.

Iowa (20-9) went on a 7-0 run with four minutes left in the quarter to cut the UConn lead to eight.

TheHuskies answered with a similar run of their own to build the lead back up to 15.

In the fourth quarter, McKenna Warnock (20 points on the game) and Monika Czinano (14) made back-to-back shots to cut UConn’s lead to single digits, but Bueckers answered with a 3-pointer to build the lead back up to 12.

Gabbie Marshall then sank a 3-pointer to drop UConn’s lead back to nine, but there again was Bueckers, who hit a second consecutive 3-point shot to extend the lead back to double-figures.

“I feel like we responded well to their runs, and we kept pushing,” Williams said.

Warnock sank a layup to pull Iowa within 10, but Evina Westbrook (17 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds) stole the ball from Clark and found Williams for an open layup.

Anna Makurat then hit a 3-pointer and Williams hit a layup to give the Huskies an 87-70 lead with 1:55 to go, putting the game out of reach for Iowa.

As Williams got hot, the Huskies began to look more and more comfortable.

She scored 11 of UConn’s first 16 points in the second quarter as the Huskies opened the period on a 16-10 run.

The junior sank a jumper with 3:21 to go in the second to give UConn a 38-28 lead.

Williams scored 14 of her 18 first-half points in the second quarter, and helped the Huskies stake the 14-point lead at halftime.

Iowa did catch up a bit, and cut the UConn lead to as close as eight points in the third quarter, but the Huskies had built enough of a safety net in the first half to withstand a Hawkeyes push.

Williams with her game-high on 12 of 23 shooting, keyed various UConn runs, and was the primary defender on Clark, who shot just 2-for-11 in the first half.

Auriemma said Williams played the best game of her career on Saturday.

“She just had this look in her eyes in that first half — it looked like she could score from anywhere, anytime she wanted,” Auriemma said.

“And she takes great pride in her defense now, and her rebounding, and her ability to make a play for someone else.”

UConn recorded 30 assists on 40 made shots, with Westbrook (10 assists), Bueckers (eight) and Nelson-Ododa (seven) serving as the primary playmakers.

Ball movement allowed the Huskies to break Iowa’s zone in the first half and catch the defense slipping when it switched to man.

“That’s UConn basketball,” Williams said.

“We were working on all cylinders.

I just think we played a really great game today.”

Clark, who came into the game averaging 26.9 points per game on the season and 29 points in the first two tournament games.

UConn held her to 21 points (14 of which came in the second half) on 7 of 21 shooting.

“There were a couple of times where we guarded her great and she still knocked in a couple 3s,” Auriemma said.

“The kid still came out of there with 21 points, but she needed 21 shots to get it.

I think that’s a pretty good defensive night.”

UConn dominated the Hawkeyes down low.

The Huskies won the rebound battle (42-25) and scored 14 second-chance points to Iowa’s four.

UConn had 46 paint points to Iowa’s 24.

UConn will play the winner of No.

2 Baylor and No.

6 Michigan in the Elite Eight on Monday night — its 15th straight appearance in the tournament’s quarterfinals.

Shawn McFarland can be reached at smcfarland@courant.com

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UConn women’s basketball UConn women’s basketball

Sat, 27 Mar 2021 11:00:00 -0700

SAN ANTONIO — Christyn Williams scored 27 points and Paige Bueckers added 18 to lead No

.

1 UConn to a 92-72 win over fifth-seeded Iowa on Saturday in the 

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Christyn Williams and Paige Bueckers lead the Huskies, who win in the return of head coach Geno Aurieumma.

UConn guard Paige Bueckers dribbles past Iowa guard Caitlin Clark on Saturday in San Antonio, Texas.

Eric Gay/Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — Christyn Williams scored 27 points and Paige Bueckers added 18 to lead No.

1 UConn to a 92-72 win over fifth-seeded Iowa on Saturday in the Sweet 16 of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

The game featured a matchup of two extremely talented freshmen in Bueckers and Iowa’s Caitlyn Clark.

The friends had taken the women’s basketball world by storm this season.

Bueckers became the third freshman to earn All-America honors.

Clark led the nation in scoring and came into the regional semifinals averaging 29 points in the tournament.

They didn’t disappoint.

Bueckers also had nine rebounds and eight assists for UConn, which raised its record to 27-1.

She had a lot more help from her teammates as Evina Westbrook just missed the 18th triple-double in NCAA women’s tournament history, with 17 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.

Aliyyah Edwards added 18 points.

Clark, shadowed on defense Williams on almost every possession, finished with 21 points – below her nearly 27-point a game average.

She was just 7 for 21 from the field.

The game marked the return of UConn Coach Geno Auriemma, who missed the opening two rounds because he was recovering from the coronavirus.

Auriemma arrived in San Antonio on Wednesday.

Associate Head Coach Chris Dailey, who guided the team through the opening two wins, moved back to her customary seat at his side where she’s been for their entire time at UConn.

Williams missed five of her first seven shots before getting going on offense.

She made six straight, including six in a row in the second quarter, to give UConn a 49-35 halftime lead.

The junior wing had 14 points in the period.

“I started off a little rough, but I just kept shooting and they started falling,” Williams said.

Iowa (20-10), behind Clark, was able to get within nine twice in the fourth quarter but Bueckers answered with a 3-pointer each time and Iowa could get no closer.

UConn, which was playing in its 27th straight Sweet 16, faces the winner of Michigan and Baylor on Monday night in the River Walk regional final.

For the first time in the tournament, the general public was allowed to attend.

Each game was allowed to have 17% of capacity which was around 4,800 fans.

In the previous two rounds, teams were given six tickets per person in the travel party.

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– March 27, 2021
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