UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Different conference, same result for UConn.
After winning seven consecutive titles in the American Athletic Conference, the top-ranked Huskies defeated Marquette 73-39 on Monday night in their return to the championship game of the Big East tournament.
Paige Bueckers scored 23 points and was named the tournament’s standout player when UConn (24-1) closed out their 19th Big East tournament title. She was 10 of 15 shots, grabbed six rebounds and had four assists.
Christyn Williams added 16 points as UConn won its 160th consecutive game in conference games.
Connecticut held Marquette to 22% shooting and scored 28 points from Golden Eagle’s 21 turnovers.
“We have a sense of urgency and it starts on the defensive end,” Williams said. “I think that’s what won the game for us tonight, it was our defense.”
The Huskies rushed to center court and jumped after the final horn, then lifted their eighth straight league trophy as staff fired confetti cannons into the nearly empty arena. The team, which includes seven freshmen who had never experienced a degree before, then threw themselves on the floor and made angels out of confetti.
“To be honest, I have never been more proud of any team, of all these young children and how much they have grown in four or five months,” said coach Geno Auriemma. “It was really comforting to watch.”
Camryn Taylor had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Marquette (19-6), who lost in the conference finals for the fourth consecutive season after winning the title in 2017. Selena Lott, who entered the game averaging just over 15 points, was He carried out two points on five shots and was harassed by Williams throughout the game.
UConn was never left behind during the tournament.
Evina Westbrook hit a triple from the right wing to open the scoring, part of a 9-0 run. Another triple from Tennessee’s transfer capped a 15-2 run, and the Huskies led 29-10 after 10 minutes.
“When you get to the University of Connecticut in the first quarter, it’s uphill, really uphill, the rest of the way,” said Marquette’s coach, Megan Duffy.
Marquette slowed the pace in the second quarter and outscored UConn 13-12, but the Huskies entered at halftime with a 41-23 lead.
The Golden Eagles cut the lead to 16 early in the third quarter, but Nika Muhl (11 points) followed a 3-pointer with a steal and a basket to bring the lead to 21.
The Huskies led 56-30 after three quarters.
They will enter the NCAA tournament on a 14-game winning streak after their only loss to Arkansas in January.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles had won seven of their eight previous games. That other loss came by 10 points at Connecticut on March 1.
UConn: Despite being absent from the conference for seven seasons, the Huskies still have more tournament titles than all the other conference members this year combined (14). The Huskies’ last Big East title was against Notre Dame in 2012. UConn lost to the Fighting Irish in the 2013 championship game before departing for the AAC.
STATUS OF THE GAME
After scoring just two fast break points in their 63-53 win over Marquette a week ago, the Huskies outscored the Golden Eagles 19-4 at halftime Monday.
HE SAID THAT
Auriemma on the show’s unprecedented success:
“I don’t care if we are preparing for UMass Lowell, who we played in our first game, or if we are preparing for the best team in the country on national television. We don’t care. The preparation is the same. The Scouting report It’s the same. We do everything the same. So there’s consistency in what we do. And that consistency, I think, pays off when you’re committed to it. And we have really tough kids. “
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Both teams await bids from the NCAA tournament, where UConn is expected to be the No. 1 seed overall.