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UConn women’s basketball drops Cincinnati, 80-50

Megan Walker reached a career milestone in the victory.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Thanks to strong opening and closing quarters, UConn women’s basketball downed the Cincinnati Bearcats 80-50. The Huskies out-scored the Bearcats 52-9 in the first and fourth despite Cincinnati holding a 31-28 advantage in the middle two quarters.

With a layup in the first quarter, Megan Walker became the 47th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark in her career. She joins Crystal Dangerfield as the only other active player in the club.

UConn missed four shots to open the game — including three on its first possession — before locking in and making eight of its next nine. The Huskies scored 15-straight points to flip what was a 7-7 game into a 22-7 lead. UConn had its way on offense and made life tough for Cincinnati on the other end, holding the Bearcats without a field goal over the final 5:22 of the first quarter.

But for as well as the Huskies played in the first 10 minutes, the next 10 went much differently. Cincinnati controlled play with a 12-2 run to open the quarter, cutting UConn’s lead to single-digits. The Huskies struggled to protect the ball and gave it away six times — many of which were unforced.

In the final seconds of the half, Dangerfield forced a steal and attempted a long layup at the buzzer bounced off the back rim. UConn went into the half leading by just five points.

Despite an ugly third quarter of basketball from both sides, the Huskies out-scored the Bearcats 19-9 to help them regain control of the game. After slogging through the middle 20 minutes, UConn pulled away in the fourth thanks in part to a 12-0 run and some hot shooting from Dangerfield.

The senior point guard paced the Huskies with 24 points including an impressive 5-7 effort from beyond the arc. Walker notched her seventh double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Olivia Nelson-Ododa recorded 12 points on a perfect 6-6 shooting to go with nine rebounds.

UConn’s defense shut down Cincinnati, holding the Bearcats to just 32 percent shooting and just three makes from three. The Huskies also dominated the boards, holding a 47-28 rebounding margin.

Next up, UConn welcomes Sabrina Ionescu and the No. 3 Oregon Ducks to Gampel Pavilion. That game will tip-off at 7 p.m. on ESPN.