Freshman Paige Bueckers scored 17 points and top-ranked UConn opened its postseason with a 77-41 rout of St. John’s in the Big East quarterfinals on Saturday.
Christyn Williams added 14 points for the Huskies (22-1). Olivia Nelson-Ododa collected each of her 10 points and 11 rebounds in the first half.
UConn has now won 158 straight games against conference opponents since losing to Notre Dame in the Big East title game in 2013.
The biggest trouble for UConn occurred in the third quarter, when freshman guard Nika Muhl (five points, four rebounds) twisted her left ankle while making a pass. She had to be helped to the locker room and came back to the bench a few minutes later on crutches.
UConn put the game away early. The Huskies’ first four baskets were layups, and they were ahead 18-6 after 10 minutes.
Connecticut continued a 15-2 run into the second quarter and outscored the Red Storm 24-6 in the paint over the first 20 minutes, led by Nelson-Ododa’s seventh double-double of the season.
Leilani Correa and Unique Drake each had seven points for St. John’s (8-15).
No. 3 NORTH CAROLINA STATE 66, GEORGIA TECH 61
Elissa Cunane had 23 points and nine rebounds as third-ranked North Carolina State stormed back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to advance to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship game.
Kayla Jones added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Wolfpack (19-2), which will look to repeat as ACC champions when they meet No. 5 Louisville on Sunday.
Lorela Cubaj had a strong game with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Lotta-Maj Lahtinen chipped in with 17 points and five assists for Georgia Tech, which led most of the second half but went cold down the stretch.
Georgia Tech (15-8) stretched its five-point halftime lead to 10 early in the fourth quarter with Cubaj cashing in on a spin move and Loyal McQueen knocking down a 3-pointer.
But the Wolfpack didn’t panic, finally taking the lead with 2:27 left behind 3s from Kai Crutchfield and Jakia Brown-Turner and back-to-back baskets in the low post from Cunane, who finished 8 of 13 from the field.
Cunane helped seal the win with two clutch free throws with 8.8 seconds left, finishing 7 of 8 from the foul line.
No. 5 LOUISVILLE 72, SYRACUSE 59
Dana Evans scored 13 points, Olivia Cochran added 10 points and 10 rebounds as fifth-ranked Louisville advanced to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship game.
Louisville (23-2), the tournament’s top seed, got 11 points from Kianna Smith on 5-of-7 shooting and 10 points off the bench from Norika Konno in the win. The Cardinals were 16 of 17 from the free throw line.
Evans, the two-time ACC Player of the Year, had just eight points against Wake Forest in the quarterfinals and didn’t score until the 4 1/2-minute mark of the first half. After shooting 3 of 15 in the first game, she was just 1 of 6 from the field in the first half before scoring nine points in the second half.
Emily Engstler had 21 points and 10 rebounds to keep Syracuse (14-8) in the game in the second half.
No. 8 MARYLAND 88, PENN STATE 61
Chloe Bibby had 15 points and nine rebounds as No. 8 Maryland clinched the Big Ten regular-season championship.
The Terrapins have won the title in six of their seven years in the conference. Maryland was outright champion in 2015, 2016 and 2019, with shared titles in 2017 and 2020. Ohio State won the title in 2018.
Diamond Miller had 14 points for the Terrapins (21-2, 17-1), who earned their 10th straight win. Ashley Owusu and Mimi Collins each scored 12 points.
Maryland was stout defensively and scored 28 points off 23 turnovers.
Niya Beverley scored 15 points for the Nittany Lions (9-14, 6-13), who have lost seven of their past eight games. Makenna Marisa added 10 points and six assists.
No. 10 INDIANA 74, PURDUE 59
Mackenzie Jones scored 11 of her 26 points in the fourth quarter as No. 10 Indiana pulled away from pesky in-state rival Purdue as the 10th-ranked Hoosiers set a school record for most conference wins in a season with their ninth consecutive victory.
The Hoosiers (18-4, 16-2) set the previous mark of 15 Big Ten wins in 1982-83.
Jones, a sophomore post player who also had nine rebounds, scored seven points as part of a 13-2 run to open the final quarter as Indiana built a 13-point cushion. Purdue was scoreless for nearly five minutes and outscored 21-8 in the final quarter.
Aleksa Gulbe added 14 points, Nicole Cardano-Hillary scored 11 and Grace Berger 10 for the Hoosiers.
Kayana Traylor scored 17 points and Brooke Moore had 13 for Purdue (7-15, 3-15), which finished its worst season since 1983-84.
No. 12 MICHIGAN 63, NORTHWESTERN 58
Naz Hillmon scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and Akienreh Johnson added 19 points and nine boards to pace No. 12 Michigan.
Northwestern got within 55-51 with six minutes left but didn’t score again until the 2:04 mark on a 3-pointer by Jordan Hamilton with the shot clock winding down to make it 60-54.
Michigan also struggled from the field in the fourth, making just one field goal in the final four minutes, but the Wolverines made 7 of 12 free throws in the quarter and 20 of 29 overall.
Amy Dilk had 12 points and nine rebounds for Michigan (14-4, 9-4 Big Ten Conference). Leigha Brown, averaging 18.3 points per game, was held to five points with four rebounds and five assists.
Veronica Burton led Northwestern (13-7, 11-7) with 19 points. Lindsey Pulliam added 11 points.
OMAHA 52, No. 21 SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 40
Josie Filer scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Omaha became the first No. 8 seed to defeat the top seed in the Summit League women’s tournament.
It was the first-ever win over a ranked team for the Mavericks, who limited SDSU to 22.4% shooting and forced 20 turnovers, ending the Jackrabbits’ 18-game winning streak.
South Dakota State was 6 of 24 from 3-point range, 7 of 34 inside the arc. The Jackrabbits did fine defensively, but the loss of Summit League player of the year Myah Selland, who missed the last three games of the regular season with a leg injury, finally caught up to them.
Tylee Irvin and Paiton Burckhard scored 10 points apiece for SDSU.
VILLANOVA 78, No. 25 DePAUL 72, OT
Madison Siegrist scored 10 of her 30 points in overtime to lead Villanova into the Big East Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2015.
DePaul got the first two points of overtime, but in the final three minutes Siegrist hit a 3-pointer, a turnaround jumper in the paint, and five free throws, her final two with 5.4 seconds left ensuring the win.
Fifth-seeded Villanova (15-5) now has the daunting task of taking on top-ranked Connecticut in a Sunday matchup.
It looked like the Wildcats might not get that opportunity after fourth-seeded and three-time defending Big East tournament champion DePaul (14-8), trailing by 10 after three quarters, outscored Villanova 19-9 in the fourth quarter behind 10 points from Deja Church. Church’s two free throws tied the game at 64-all, but she couldn’t finish a layup after driving the baseline as time ran out in regulation.
Siegrist made 11 of 19 shots and grabbed 11 rebounds. Brianna Herlihy finished with 19 points, including the final go-ahead basket in overtime, and Sarah Mortensen added 13 for the Wildcats.
Church scored 19 points and Sonya Morris added 16 points with nine rebounds.
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