Two weeks ago, UConn women’s basketball scored just three points in the fourth quarter during a loss to No. 1 South Carolina. On Sunday, the Huskies dominated the final period as they outscored the No. 24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 22-10 in the final period en route to a 73-54 victory.
The win came at a cost, though. Paige Bueckers suffered a non-contact injury with 38.5 seconds left and needed to be carried to the bench by teammates. She was helped through the handshake line and went straight into the tunnel.
Caroline Ducharme had a breakout performance with 14 points — second-most of the team — on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Olivia Nelson-Ododa recorded UConn’s first double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds — including five offensive. Bueckers had 22 points, four assists, and four rebounds.
The Huskies won the rebounding battle 45-32 but committed a season-high 21 turnovers, which turned into 22 points for Notre Dame.
Turnovers plagued UConn from the opening tip, with Bueckers giving it away on the first two possessions. The Huskies coughed up the ball six times in the opening quarter, a few of which were unforced by Notre Dame’s defense.
UConn got an even scoring effort with Bueckers and Nelson-Ododa leading the way with four points through 10 minutes. In the second quarter, Nelson-Ododa took over. She went 2-4 from the floor but both her misses resulted in second-chance points. She cleaned up on the boards as well and nearly had a double-double at the half with 12 points and nine rebounds, five offensive.
Notre Dame’s Sam Brunelle put her team ahead 22-21 with a 3-pointer near the midway point in the second quarter. From there, UConn closed the half on a 14-4 run and pushed the lead to double-digits at the buzzer thanks to a long pass from Bueckers to Williams at the buzzer.
Christyn Williams AT THE BUZZER pic.twitter.com/qK0J0lZ9mS— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) December 5, 2021
Out of the locker room, Bueckers and Edwards turned into UConn’s 1-2 punch. The sophomores combined to score 14 of the Huskies’ 19 points in the third quarter and kept Notre Dame at an arm’s length. The scoreline held steady with the Fighting Irish never getting closer than seven points and UConn never taking more than a 12 point lead.
That changed quickly in the fourth. The Huskies opened the quarter on a 10-0 run to push the advantage to 61-44 — their largest lead of the game. Caroline Ducharme scored on a tough drive to the basket and followed it up with her first career 3-pointer, which forced Notre Dame to take a timeout.
The Fighting Irish didn’t make a shot in the fourth until there were five minutes left and five of their 10 points in the period came in the last minute when the game was already out of reach.
With the win, UConn improves to 5-1 on the season. Next, the Huskies will head to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech for Olivia Nelson-Ododa’s homecoming on Thursday.