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NCAA Tournament: UConn Women’s Basketball Defeats Quinnipiac to Advance to Sweet Sixteen

The Huskies prove too much for the Bobcats down the stretch.

UConn’s Azura Stevens (23) blocks the shot of Quinnipiac’s Edel Thornton (11) in the second quarter of a 2018 NCAA Tournament second round game at Gampel Pavilion.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Quinnipiac Bobcats gave the UConn women’s basketball team their best shot but ultimately the Huskies came away with the 71-46 victory to advance to the program’s 25th-straight Sweet Sixteen and 26th overall.

“A game like that is the perfect type of game to have before the regionals,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said.

Like in the first round, Napheesa Collier helped the Huskies get off to a quick start; she scored the Huskies’ first four points as UConn led 19-9 after the first period. Collier finished with a game-high 23 points while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing four assists. She also got to the foul line six times, hitting all but one shot.

UConn’s zone gave the Bobcats fits early on, as Quinnipiac struggled to get the ball inside the three-point arc and get good looks at the basket. The Huskies held the visitors to just 27 percent shooting in the first half while holding them to just 1-12 from deep.

Ultimately, the Bobcats would hit just 30 percent of their shots and only made four three-pointers the entire game.

Quinnipiac Bobcats & UConn Huskies postgame press conferences

Once the second quarter began, the Bobcats’ scrappy play started to show results as they held UConn without a point for the first three minutes. Quinnipiac also started penetrating the Huskies’ tough defense and slowly closed the deficit.

They had a chance to pull within five but Paula Strautmane’s three-pointer missed the mark. UConn closed the half on a 9-2 run to go into the halftime break with a 15-point cushion.

Quinnipiac came out on fire to start the second half, holding the Huskies without a basket for nearly three minutes. Aryn McClure hit a big shot at the end of the shot clock followed up by a steal to seize the momentum. However, UConn ripped it right back by turning the Bobcats and finding the hoop on the ensuing possession.

That was the story of the second half. Every time Quinnipiac seemed primed to get back in the game, the Huskies would respond with a big shot to cease any thoughts of a comeback.

Geno Auriemma, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Crystal Dangerfield, Napheesa Collier, Azura Stevens postgame video

The Bobcats simply couldn’t contain UConn’s high-powered offense. The lead surpassed 20 points after three quarters and the Huskies finally pulled away in the fourth. At the final buzzer, UConn came away with a 71-46 victory and the program’s 26th Sweet Sixteen appearance.

Kia Nurse notched 13 points on 3-5 shooting behind the arc with a trio of rebounds and assists while Gabby Williams contributed six points, five assist and two rebounds in their final game at Gampel Pavilion. Azura Stevens added 14 points on 5-6 shooting.

Next, the Huskies will play No. 5 Duke, who just beat 4-seed Georgia. The game will be played on Saturday at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY at 1:30 p.m.