Bueckers scores 15; UConn beats Indiana to reach Elite 8

Mar 26, 2022, 1:32 AM | Updated: 3:35 pm
Connecticut guard Azzi Fudd (35) passes the ball against Indiana during the first quarter of a coll...

Connecticut guard Azzi Fudd (35) passes the ball against Indiana during the first quarter of a college basketball game in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA women's tournament, Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Bridgeport, Conn. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — Over the past 25 years, UConn has been known for putting together lengthy scoring runs that turn tight games into blowouts.

Paige Bueckers and the Huskies put together a classic one to begin the second half against Indiana on Saturday and move into the program’s 16th consecutive regional final.

Bueckers’ 3-pointer to open the third quarter began the 16-0 onslaught and the Huskies ran away from Indiana 75-58 in the Bridgeport Regional.

“We started pushing the ball in transition more; we got a few easy buckets there,” Bueckers said. “I thought we played with a lot better pace and just a lot better energy.”

Bueckers and Christyn Williams each scored 15 points and Azzi Fudd had 13 to lead UConn, which faces top-seeded North Carolina State on Monday night in an attempt to earn a 14th straight trip to the Final Four.

But it was in the lane where the Huskies dominated. Olivia Nelson-Ododa had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds and Connecticut (28-5) outscored the Hoosiers 46-32 in the paint. UConn also outrebounded Indiana 39-27 including 15-2 on the offensive end.

“Throughout the season rebounding has been a point of emphasis, especially from the coaches,” Nelson-Ododa said. “Just going out there today, staying in an aggressive mentality and just keep attacking, keep crashing the boards was really huge for us.”

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.

“I’m not a good loser,” Patberg said. “So this is not how I envisioned going out. But I’m just thankful that Coach (Teri) Moren believed in me five years ago and gave me an opportunity to wear Hoosier on my chest. I just hope that the time I had at IU people just remember how hard I played and I was a good teammate and worked as hard as I could.”

Indiana opened the game with an 8-2 run, but UConn came back to lead 37-33 at the half.

Williams’ layup put UConn up by double digits for the first time at 44-33. A free throw from Aaliyah Edwards (nine points, 10 rebounds) capped the run and gave the Huskies their first 20-point advantage at 53-33.

“During that stretch there was a look about us that we felt exceptionally confident,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “We knew exactly where we were going. We knew where the ball was going. We knew where the shots were coming from. We could pick and choose which shots we wanted to take, and we got more lay-ups than we had gotten in the previous two quarters.”

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.


The Huskies got a first-quarter 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.

“It’s been a little bit of finding ourselves again, how much do we want to cheer for Paige and how much do we need to just play basketball and make shots and let her figure her own way out out there,” Auriemma said. “Today she took a more assertive role, which I like for her to do.”


Indiana benefited from a bizarre play that ended the first half. UConn’s 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. That was enough time for a 3-pointer by Aleksa Gulbe before the halftime buzzer.


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 for the Hoosiers, who were playing in their second straight Sweet 16 after making it to the regional finals last year.

“Our chemistry has been off the charts the last two seasons, and a lot of it has to do with not just because they’re good basketball players but because they’re good kids, and they like each other, and they care about each other,” Moren said.

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.


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


More AP coverage of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Patrice Motsepe speaks during a news confe...
Associated Press

Guinea removed as host of 2025 African Cup in latest switch

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — The African soccer confederation has removed Guinea as host of the 2025 African Cup of Nations because of inadequate infrastructure, the latest in a series of switches and delays for the continental championship over the last 10 years. The decision was announced late Friday night and after Confederation of […]
1 day ago
Gold medalists the United States hold their trophy as they celebrate on the podium after defeating ...
Associated Press

US women win fourth straight gold at World Cup, top China

SYDNEY (AP) — The names on the U.S. team have changed, the Americans’ dominance has not. A’ja Wilson scored 19 points, Kelsey Plum added 17 and the United States beat China 83-61 on Saturday to win its fourth consecutive gold medal at the women’s basketball World Cup. “It feels great,” said Wilson, who was selected […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Brumfield TD run sparks UNLV over New Mexico 31-20

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Doug Brumfield threw for 233 yards and ran for a second-half touchdown as UNLV scored 24 unanswered points and beat New Mexico 31-20 on Friday night. Brumfield rolled to his left before diving over a defender and into the end zone from six yards out to tie the game 17-17 midway […]
1 day ago
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) stiff-arms Washington linebacker Carson Bruener durin...
Associated Press

Thompson-Robinson leads UCLA past No. 15 Washington, 40-32

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Dorian Thompson-Robinson had read and heard the comments about UCLA’s unbeaten start not meaning much due to the quality of opponents it played. On Friday night, Thompson-Robinson and the Bruins made sure to make a statement with their first victory over a top-15 team since 2014. Thompson-Robinson passed for 315 yards […]
1 day ago
Fans watch as New York Yankees' Aaron Judge comes to bat during the third inning of the team's base...
Associated Press

Yankees star Judge tries again for AL-record 62nd home run

A look at Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees as he approaches major home run milestones: Season HR Total: 61 Friday’s Game: Went 1 for 2 with two walks in a 2-1 loss to Baltimore. Judge also is bidding for the first Triple Crown since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Judge leads the AL […]
1 day ago
San Francisco Giants' Evan Longoria (10) celebrates with Mike Yastrzemski (5) after hitting a two-r...
Associated Press

Longoria 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, Giants win 10 of 11, beat Dbacks

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Evan Longoria homered twice and drove in five runs as the San Francisco Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-4 Friday night for their 10th win in 11 games. Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Wynns also went deep as San Francisco (79-78) moved above .500 for the first time since Aug. 17. The […]
1 day ago
Bueckers scores 15; UConn beats Indiana to reach Elite 8