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Big East Semifinals: UConn women’s basketball dismantles Villanova, 84-39

The Huskies had no problems as they continue a remarkable streak of making their conference tournament title game.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Connecticut vs Villanova David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

UConn women’s basketball dominated from start to finish as it dispatched the Villanova Wildcats, 84-39, to advance to the Big East Tournament championship game. The Huskies (23-1, 18-0 Big East) advance to the title game of the conference tournament for the 17th season in a row.

The Husky defense locked down Villanova for all 40 minutes, holding the Wildcats to 6-33 (18%) from beyond the arc and 15-61 (24.6%) overall.

For the second game in a row, UConn dominated in the post, 44 of the team’s 84 points came in the paint and the Huskies attempted just nine 3-pointers. In fact, UConn took just 17 shots that weren’t layups and made 10 of them.

Villanova had no answers for Christyn Williams, who scored 26 points on 11-17 shooting.

Paige Bueckers racked up 18 points despite taking just two shots from beyond the arc and also dished out a team-high eight assists. Olivia Nelson-Ododa totaled 13 points, seven rebounds, and five assists while Aubrey Griffin added seven points and six rebounds as well.

Despite spraining her ankle in the quarterfinals, Nika Muhl started and played 18 minutes in the win. Anna Makurat also saw 14 minutes (three more than on Saturday) after returning from injury on Saturday.

Williams and the Huskies held Villanova star Maddy Siegrist to a career-low three points on 1-10 shooting.

UConn started the game on a 7-0 run and never looked back. The Huskies outscored the Wildcats by 15 in the first quarter and then scored the first 17 points of the second. Villanova made just one basket in the second period, with 1:15 left before the half.

For the second game in a row, UConn set the tone on defense. Villanova made just 5-33 attempts from the field and 2-20 from three before the break. Even more impressive, the Huskies forced just six turnovers; the incredible defensive performance was due to consistent half-court effort rather than defensive playmaking.

Villanova made two of the first three baskets of the second half before UConn quickly responded with 13 of the next 15 points. The Huskies put it on cruise control for the remainder of the game as it ended with a 45-point win.

Next, UConn will face the winner of Marquette and Creighton in the Big East Championship Game on Monday at 8 p.m.