Bueckers scores 15; UConn beats Indiana to reach Elite 8

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Paige Bueckers and Christyn Williams each scored 15 points to lead a balanced UConn offense in a 75-58 win over Indiana on Saturday to advance the Huskies into their 16th consecutive regional final.

Olivia Nelson-Ododa had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds for Connecticut (28-5), which outscored the Hoosiers 46-32 in the paint.

Azzi Fudd added 13 points for the Huskies, who face top-seeded North Carolina State on Monday night in an attempt to earn a 14th straight trip to the Final Four.

Ali Patberg, in her seventh year of college basketball thanks to transfer and COVID-19 rules, had 16 points for the third-seeded Hoosiers, who finish their season at 24-9. Grace Berger had 13 points and Mackenzie Holmes added 12 for Indiana.

UConn led 37-33 at the half, but opened the second half with a 16-0 run to take control of the game.

Williams’ layup put UConn up by double digits for the first time at 44-33. Aaliyah Edwards’ free throw capped the run and gave the Huskies their first 20-point advantage at 53-33.

Indiana outscored UConn 13-6 to close the quarter and cut the deficit to 11 midway through the fourth quarter on a basket by Holmes.

But Bueckers responded at the other end and the Hoosiers could not close the gap any further.

Indiana started strong. Holmes hit a turnaround in the lane for the first basket and the Hoosiers opened on an 8-2 run.

The Huskies got an early scare when Bueckers went down on a steal attempt and grabbed her surgically repaired left knee. She ran to the bench and had it worked on by trainers, but returned for the start of the second quarter. She played 33 minutes in her eighth game back from the injury that kept her out more than two months.

The Huskies closed the first quarter on an 8-0 run. A driving layup and free throw by Williams gave UConn its first lead at 19-18 and her blocked shot just before the buzzer preserved a 21-18 lead.

UConn extended the lead to nine points on Fudd’s third 3-pointer of the half.

Indiana benefited from a bizarre play that ended the second quarter Edwards tossed a missed layup from Holmes out of bounds, apparently believing the clock had expired. But that gave the Hoosiers the ball back with 1.2 seconds left and a 3-pointer by Aleksa Gulbe at the halftime buzzer sent the teams to the locker rooms with UConn leading 37-33.

BIG PICTURE

Indiana: At 24-9, finished a win shy of the program record. The No. 3 seed was the highest in program history in the NCAA Tournament and the Hoosiers advanced to their first Elite Eight last season.

UConn: The Huskies have not given up 60 points since Feb. 11, when they beat DePaul 84-60. They had held their previous 10 opponents to 51 points or fewer, giving up 40 points or fewer in seven of those games.

UP NEXT

UConn will face North Carolina State Monday night in the regional final.