How to watch
When: Monday, March 1, 8:00 p.m.
Where: Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, CT
TV: CBS Sports Network
Stream: CBS Sports Network Online (log-in required)
Radio: UConn Sports Network (97.9 ESPN and affiliates)
Marquette Golden Eagles
Record: 17-4 (14-3 Big East)
Standings: Second place
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Head coach: Megan Duffy (second season)
On Saturday, Paige Bueckers etched her name into the Huskies’ record books twice.
With her eighth assist against Butler, she passed Renee Montgomery and Pam Webber for the most assists in a single-season by a UConn freshman. Montgomery reached that mark in 37 games, Webber in 34. Bueckers did it in just 20 games.
She wasn’t done, though. Bueckers dished out six more dimes and set the program’s single-game record with 14, surpassing a mark jointly held by Susie Sturman, Laura Lishness, and Montgomery.
Earlier this year, she also became the only UConn player to score 30+ points in three straight games and is on pace to finish with the eighth-highest scoring average and third-highest 3-point percentage in a single season in program history.
Bueckers has been nothing short of sensational as a freshman and has a case to be the national player of the year. If there is anything to regret about her first season in Storrs, it’s that she’s doing all of this during a pandemic-shortened year. Even if the Huskies win out the rest of the way, they’ll only play 32 games this year. Between 2010-11 and 2018-19, UConn played an average of 38.1 games and never fewer than 37.
Because of that, Bueckers won’t have a chance to make a run at many of the Huskies’ single-season and freshmen records.
Let’s start with assists. Bueckers is averaging 6.5 per game. Assuming UConn wins the Big East Tournament and makes it to the Final Four (thus playing 31 games), Bueckers is on pace to finish with 202 assists, sixth-most in a single-season. But in a normal, 38-game campaign, Bueckers would shatter Sue Bird’s mark of 231 assists by 16 — assuming she maintained her current average.
As for points, Maya Moore holds the freshman record with 678. Bueckers is averaging 20.1 points per game, which puts her on track to finish with 623 total. That would be the second-most by a freshman, though it wouldn’t crack the top 10 in a single season. But in a normal year, Bueckers would be on track for 764 points which would not only shatter Moore’s freshman record, it would put her fourth on the single-season list.
The shortened season may also affect how she stacks up on UConn’s career records list, though it’s way too early to try to project any of that. Still, for as incredible as Bueckers has been, it’s disappointing that her season — arguably the best by any freshman in program history — won’t be immortalized in the record book as much as it should.
UConn took down Marquette 87-58 back on Feb. 5. The Huskies’ defense showed tangible improvements for the first time since the loss to Arkansas and held Selena Lott, the Golden Eagles’ leading scorer, to just four points. Paige Bueckers dropped over 30 points for the second game in a row and made a career-high six 3-pointers.
Marquette enters the season finale with the second-seed in the Big East Tournament locked up. The Golden Eagles have won their last five and earned a convincing 85-71 road win over DePaul to clinch the top spot in the conference behind UConn.
Her Hoop Stats rates Marquette as the 46th-best team in the country. The Golden Eagles are efficient inside the arc and make 50.9 percent of their 2-pointers, which ranks 27th in the country. They score the majority of their points (68 percent) inside the 3-point line and only make 31.9 percent from deep.
Lott leads the team with 15.4 points, 5.1 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Two other players average double-digit scoring, including Camryn Taylor, who leads the team with 7.0 rebounds per game.
Anna Makurat update
During Saturday’s win over Butler, SNY reported that Anna Makurat’s lower right leg injury came from a stress fracture. The sophomore has missed the last 12 games with the ailment and still doesn’t have a timetable to return.
Senior night festivities
While UConn doesn’t have any seniors on its roster, the team will honor its graduating managers and practice players at halftime on Monday night.
By the numbers
68 — Butler’s 68 points on Saturday were the most UConn had allowed to a Big East opponent this season.
22 — Monday’s season finale will be the Huskies’ 22nd game of the season. Last year, UConn played its 22nd game of the season on Feb. 7 against Memphis.
5 — Five teams have clinched their seeds for the conference tournament: UConn (1), Marquette (2), Villanova (5), Creighton (6), and Georgetown (9). The Huskies will face off against St. John’s, Providence, or Xavier in the quarterfinals.