UConn women’s basketball overcomes Seton Hall, 74-49

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Behind another big effort from Paige Bueckers, women’s basketball UConn opened the Big East game with a 74-49 victory over the Seton Hall Pirates.

Bueckers finished with 23 points, a team-high, and also added nine rebounds, six assists and five steals. She also hit a handful of clutch shots throughout the game to calm a rowdy crowd at the Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange, New Jersey.

Christyn Williams added 17 points while Aaliyah Edwards looked like her old self with 12 points and seven rebounds – both highs of the season. Dorka Juhász took 10 rebounds after entering the game with just 13 all season while Olivia Nelson-Ododa had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.

UConn kept Seton Hall 28 percent from shots as Lauren Park-Lane (20), Mya Jackson (14) and Sidney Cooks (13) scored all but two of the hosts. The Huskies were also dominant on the inside, winning the rebound battle 48-30 and scoring 50 points in the paint against the Pirates’ 12.

Seton Hall ignited the sold-out crowd with a 3-point pointer from Jackson to open the game, but UConn came back with a quick 7-0 run. Unperturbed, the Pirates returned the favor with a 10-0 flurry to take a 13-7 lead.

The Huskies struggled to protect the ball against the Seton Hall defense and returned it six times in the first ten minutes. Bueckers came big to bail them out. She scored nine points in a row for UConn and, in the middle of that streak, reduced the Pirates’ lead from six to one.

Edwards completed one out to put the Huskies back on top, but two free throws from Park-Lane gave Seton Hall a 17-16 advantage late in the first quarter.

But then UConn flipped a switch. The Huskies limited the Pirates to just six points in the second period and held a 16 point lead at halftime. After making his first two threes to threes, Seton Hall was only 1 in 13 from bottom throughout the remainder of the first half. Without the ability to fire outside, the Pirates struggled to break UConn’s inside defense.

It also helped the Huskies start to capitalize on their size advantage. They grabbed 13 of 19 possible rebounds and allowed just one offensive board in the second quarter. UConn also scored 16 of his 23 points in the second in the paint, further establishing his dominance on the inside.

Out of the break, Park-Lane kept Seton Hall afloat by scoring the team’s first seven halftime points. UConn’s defense continued to frustrate the Pirates, limiting them to 13 points in the third quarter, but the Huskies themselves only scored 14 points.

Then, for the second game in a row, UConn collapsed once the fourth quarter started. Seton Hall used a 7-0 run to reduce the deficit to 12. As Bueckers stopped the bleeding with a jumper from the free throw line, Park-Lane came back straight away with a layup to the other. end and sent the local crowd into a frenzy.

Soon after, Bueckers was inadvertently punched in the face, although officials decided to watch the game for blatant potential. A lengthy criticism followed by a media timeout ensued and after the break Edwards scored the inbounds. As of that point, UConn has beaten the hosts 11-4 in the final five minutes.

The Huskies earned a 25-point victory to pitch the Big East 1-0. Then UConn will return home to face Notre Dame at the Gampel Pavilion on Sunday at noon.

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