STORRS, Conn. – UConn trainer Geno Auriemma famous Monday evening that basketball is a touch recreation — one thing that used to be obtrusive after the Huskies outfought UCF in what can have been a UFC fit.
Freshman Azzi Fudd scored 16 issues and hit two key loose throws past due as No. 2 seed Connecticut outfought No. 7 seed UCF 52-47 in a defensive slugfest to an NCAA document twenty eighth instantly Sweet 16.
“This was a rather new experience for me,” Auriemma mentioned. ”It used to be what we idea it might be. It used to be going to be truly tricky and it used to be going to be unsightly having a look and it used to be.”
“We could have easily let that game get away from us and we didn’t,” he mentioned.
Christyn Williams added 12 issues and Paige Bueckers had 9 for the Huskies (27-5), who’ve no longer allowed an opponent to attain greater than 51 issues of their final 10 video games.
The recreation used to be extraordinarily bodily, with each groups urgent and taking part in lock-down protection. There had been 45 fouls known as, 24 on UCF.
“It was a battle the whole game,” Williams mentioned. “We just tried to throw the first punch and keep punching them.”
Diamond Battles scored 12 issues, Brittney Smith added 11 and Tay Sanders had 10 for UCF (26-4), which noticed its season finish together with a 14-game successful streak.
These two former American Athletic Conference foes knew each and every different neatly and the Knights were not intimidated taking part in in entrance of a noisy sold-out Connecticut crowd the place the scholars had been cheering baskets made in pregame warmups.
UCF jumped out to an 11-4 lead early and led by means of 8 issues within the first part.
The Huskies fought again, led by means of 3 at halftime and prolonged that to twelve issues halfway during the fourth quarter.
They led by means of 10 prior to Sanders 3-pointer from the left nook with 3 1/2 mins last made it 48-41 and began the Knight’s ultimate push.
UCF closed the space to a few issues two times, the final time when Williams fouled Smith with 15.1 seconds left and the 6-foot-3 publish hit her foul photographs to chop the deficit to 50-47.
But Sanders fouled Fudd at the different finish and the freshman flippantly made her loose throws to seal the win.
The Knights held UConn to simply 14 baskets on 48 photographs (29.2%), however hit simply 16 in their 46 (34.8%). UCF additionally struggled from the foul line, going simply 10 of 20.
UCF: The Knights have had essentially the most a hit season at school historical past, successful the AAC common season and event titles, incomes their first Top 25 score, notching their first NCAA Tournament win and beating in-state rival Florida for the primary time ever after 26 instantly losses. Monday’s loss used to be the Knights first in 15 video games.
“Our team is amazing,” coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. We accomplished so many goals.”
“I told them keep your head up. You are warriors. You are a great team. You deserved, sorry, a better place to go play.”
UConn: UConn, which beat mercer 83-38 in the first round, improves to 18-3 as a No. 2 seed and 29-2 all-time in the second round, where they last lost in 1992. They fell in the first round a year later. The Huskies move on the Sweet 16, where they have not lost since falling to Stanford in 2005.
Auriemma said it’s clear Bueckers won’t be able to return this season to the form she showed last year. Bueckers has played seven games since returning from a left knee injury in early December that kept her out for well over two months. She played 32 minutes on Monday night — eight more than she did on Saturday in the first round win.
“Those moments that she has that are really, really good, I’m happy, I’m thrilled for her,” he said. “But, there is still a lot going on out on the court that you can see that’s not the same player that we saw all of last year. But having her on the court obviously benefits us in so many ways.”
The banging started early, with Aaliyah Edwards and Diamond Battles diving out of bounds and pushing each other to get to a loose ball. Later in the first half, Bueckers and Sanders battled each other for a tie-up and kept fighting long after the whistle blew, prompting the UConn’s star to signal the student section to make some noise.
“We were expecting it to be physical, but I don’t think they were expecting us to be as physical,” Battles mentioned. “We came out and did what we do best. The toughness, that’s what we are. That’s who we are.”
The 52 points was the second fewest the Huskies have had this season. They lost 57-44 the game to Georgia Tech the game after Bueckers went down with her injury.
UConn will face Indiana in Bridgeport on Saturday. The third-seeded Hoosiers beat Princeton 56-55 on Monday night.
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