No. 7 UConn cruises past Marquette in Big East semifinals

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Evina Westbrook scored 14 points and UConn cruised into the Big East title game with a 71-51 win over No. 5 seed Marquette on Sunday.

The Huskies didn’t need much help from reigning national player of the year Paige Bueckers, who played 18 minutes and finished with two points, two rebounds and two assists. The sophomore was playing her fifth game since returning from a left-knee injury that kept her out more than two months.

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Christyn Williams and Dorka Juhasz each added 13 points for the Huskies (24-5), who are looking to win a ninth straight conference tournament championship, including the seven they won while members of the American Athletic Conference. Aaliyah Edwards had eight points and 11 rebounds.

Karissa McLaughlin had 15 points and Jordan King added 12 for Marquette (21-10), which must hope they have done enough to get an NCAA Tournament bid.

Marquette was held to just 31% shooting from the floor, after hitting a a tournament-record 65.7 percent in a 105-85 win over DePaul on Saturday. But, they scored more points than each of the Huskies last four opponents, who were all held under 40.

Connecticut's Paige Bueckers (5) reacts toward teammate Christyn Williams in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Marquette in the Big East tournament semifinals at Mohegan Sun Arena, Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Uncasville, Conn.

Connecticut’s Paige Bueckers (5) reacts toward teammate Christyn Williams in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Marquette in the Big East tournament semifinals at Mohegan Sun Arena, Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Uncasville, Conn.
(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

UConn scored this game’s first seven points and never trailed. Williams, who had 13 first-quarter points in the Huskies quarterfinal win over Georgetown, put up eight points in the first 10 minutes on Sunday, helping the Huskies to a 22-6 lead.

DePaul, which had 54 first-half points on Saturday, didn’t reach 10 points until Antwainette Walker hit a pull-up jumper midway through the second quarter to cut the UConn lead to 33-10

The Huskies led 39-18 at halftime and 59-32 after three quarters.

Connecticut dominated underneath. The Golden Eagles, who had 60 points in the paint Saturday, were outscored in the lane by UConn 36-10 and were outrebounded 41-33.

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BIG PICTURE

Marquette: The was the sixth consecutive appearance in the semifinals for the Golden Eagles. They won their only Big East Tournament title back in 2017 and had lost in the championship game in each tournament since, including to UConn last season.

UConn: The Huskies will be appearing in their 25th Big East championship game, looking for their 20th Big East Tournament title. They have been to 18 straight conference finals. The Huskies improved to 14-0 all-time against Marquette, a team they swept last month, 72-58 in Milwaukee and 69-38 in Hartford.

UP NEXT

UConn will play either No. 2 seed Villanova or Seton Hall for the Big East championship on Monday night.

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