How to watch
When: Monday, March 9, 8:00 p.m.
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
Stream: Fox Sports Go (log-in required)
Radio: UConn Sports Network (97.9 ESPN and affiliates)
Marquette Golden Eagles
Record: 19-5 (15-4 Big East)
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Head coach: Megan Duffy (second season)
How they got here
UConn bounced St. John’s 77-41 in the quarterfinals and then destroyed Villanova in the semifinals, 84-39 to reach the finals of the conference tournament for the 17th consecutive season.
Marquette breezed past Providence in the quarterfinals, 68-43, led by Lauren Van Kluenen’s 17 points and Camryn Taylor’s 12. In the semis, the Golden Eagles only beat Creighton by five but led wire-to-wire. Selena Lott went off for 27 points while Van Kluenen added 16 points. The Bluejays cut the deficit down to one with 29 seconds left but Marquette didn’t allow another basket and made their free throws to secure the win.
UConn went 2-0 against Marquette in the regular season.
On Feb. 5, the Huskies’ defense showed signs of improvement for the first time after the Arkansas loss in an 87-58 victory over the Golden Eagles. Paige Bueckers scored 30 points for the second consecutive game and made a career-high six 3-pointers.
Marquette made the return trip to Storrs on March 1 for the regular season finale. Though it took all 40 minutes, UConn came away with a 63-53 win. Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Aaliyah Edwards “carried the team” with a combined 35 points and 18 rebounds.
Muhl shakes off ankle injury
Despite spraining her ankle in UConn’s quarterfinal win over St. John’s and returning to the bench on crutches, Nika Muhl started and played 18 minutes the next day against Villanova. After the game, Auriemma explained how the freshman made such a quick recovery.
“When we left here yesterday, obviously we weren’t sure the extent of what happened but overnight she did everything she was asked to do,” he said. “Our athletic training staff, Janelle [Francisco] did a great job with her and she was able to come to shootaround this morning and looked good and then worked on it again today. She’s a tough kid and I’m sure it hurt, and she played through it anyway.
“We didn’t play her as much as we would have liked, obviously, because tomorrow is going to be — either way, whether it’s Creighton and we’ve got to chase them around or whether it’s Marquette and how physical they are, it’s going to be a tough assignment for her tomorrow night as well.”
Quote of note
“We’re a championship team if Christyn Williams plays like that. I don’t know if we can be if she doesn’t play like that, but if she plays like that, we’re a championship team.” — Geno Auriemma on Christyn Williams’ performance against Villanova.
By the numbers
25 — UConn has won 25 conference tournaments in its history, including 18 in the Big East.
52 — The Huskies have captured 52 overall conference championships, 38 of which came in the Big East.
7 — UConn has won seven consecutive conference tournament titles, all of which came in the American. The Huskies’ last Big East Tournament championship came in the 2011-12 season.
40 — Williams has 40 points in her first two games of the Big East Tournament and could stake her claim to the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award with another strong effort on Monday night.
10 — Marquette star guard Selena Lott has scored a combined 10 points on 4-19 shooting in two games against UConn this season.