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UConn women’s basketball cruises past Marquette, 87 - 58

Paige Bueckers scored 30 points for the second-straight game.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Butler at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

UConn maintained their place at the top of the Big East with a convincing 87-58 win over Marquette Friday night. The Huskies delivered a strong performance against a physical Golden Eagles squad and held them to their second lowest point total of the season.

Once again, Paige Bueckers led the way with her second 30-point game of the season. She continued her hot shooting from beyond the arc, adding a career high six 3-pointers on just nine attempts.

Christyn Williams reentered the starting lineup after missing Wednesday night’s win over St. John’s with an ankle injury, and contributed 18 points for UConn on 8-12 shooting. Williams also played 33 minutes, which is a good sign that her ankle was not nagging her too much during the game.

Even with Williams’ return, Nika Muhl maintained her place in the starting line up. She followed up a great game on Wednesday with another standout performance, leading the team with nine assists and tallying seven rebounds. Muhl also put on a gritty defensive performance with five steals, which helped UConn rack up 21 fast break points in the game.

The Huskies continued their season long trend of slow starts, with five turnovers on their first 11 possessions. Even so, UConn only trailed after Marquette scored the first basket and made four of their last five shots in the first quarter to take a seven point lead into the break.

UConn opened it up more in the next 10 minutes, winning the second quarter 20-8 behind 13 first-half points from Bueckers. After halftime, Bueckers blew open the lead even further, hitting five of her six three-pointers in the third.

In what was overall a dominant performance, UConn did struggle on the defensive glass. They allowed Marquette to rebound 10 of their own misses, which the Golden Eagles converted for eight second chance points. Half of those offensive boards for Marquette came in the first quarter. Olivia Nelson-Ododa stepped up in the second quarter and beyond to allow just five more, and finished with eight boards, the most rebounds she has recorded over the last four games.

Overall, UConn strung together one of, if not their best performance of the season thus far against an NCAA tournament caliber Big East opponent. Next up, the Huskies will look to build on this performance as they host No. 2 South Carolina on Monday night.