UConn women’s basketball will advance to the final of the Battle 4 Atlantis after a tough battle with the No. 23 USF Bulls.
The Huskies came away with the 60-53 win behind an impressive outing from Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd. Bueckers finished with 21 points and 7 assists while Fudd had the best game of her young career with 18 points on an incredible 6-9 from deep.
UConn started out the game on a 6-0 run, but the Bulls quickly responded with back-to-back triples. USF’s shooting from beyond the arc allowed it to hang around with the Huskies throughout the first quarter. UConn took just a four-point advantage into the break behind a triple from Fudd to close out the quarter.
Fudd stayed hot from beyond the arc, knocking down two more triples to quickly give UConn a double-digit lead in the second quarter. The freshman provided a much needed spark off the bench, especially once Christyn Williams went to the bench with her third foul in the half.
The Huskies struggled against a tough South Florida defense, turning the ball over nine times in the opening 20 minutes and taking their offense late into the shot clock. Still, they took a nine-point advantage into the locker room thanks to a strong effort on the defensive end, allowing only 25 points.
USF came out with an answer in the third quarter thanks to a 9-2 run to start the second half. The Huskies answered with a pair of triples from Fudd and Bueckers, but the Bulls responded again to take the lead. UConn avoided going into the final ten minutes in a hole thanks to some last-second heroics from Bueckers, who knocked down a heavily contested, off-balance three at the buzzer.
The Huskies started off the final quarter with a 5-0 run and held on to come away with the victory. While the UConn’s offense continued to struggled, it got it done on the defensive end, holding the Bulls to 53 points.
While the defensive outing from UConn was solid, the Huskies also struggled throughout the game on the glass and were out-rebounded 34-29 by USF. Dorka Juhász led the team on the glass with six boards despite playing only 12 minutes. Fortunately, the Bulls only converted their 15 offensive boards into eight second chance points and the deficit on the boards didn’t end up being too costly for UConn.
Now, the Huskies will play No. 1 South Carolina in the final on Monday at noon. After two games behind the paywall of FloSports, the championship will be aired on ESPN.