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UConn women’s basketball beats No. 9 Iowa to win Phil Knight Legacy

The Huskies got contributions from everyone and overcame a halftime deficit to earn the win.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn women’s basketball took down the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes 86-79 to win the Phil Knight Legacy tournament in Portland, Oregon. The No. 3 Huskies erased an 11-point deficit in the second half to earn their third victory over a top-10 opponent this season.

The Huskies got contributions from everyone. After a quiet first half with just two points, Azzi Fudd dropped 22 points in the second half. Aaliyah Edwards finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and a career-high six assists while earning tournament MVP honors, and Nika Mühl had 13 assists — her third straight game in double-figures.

Caroline Ducharme had her best game of the season with 15 points, shooting 3-6 from three, five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks. Lou Lopez Sénéchal chipped in 11 points and five rebounds while Aubrey Griffin had 10 points and six rebounds.

Iowa star Caitlin Clark led all scorers with 25 points, eight of which came in the second half. She shot 9-24 (37.5%) from the floor and 2-11 (18%) from three. Redshirt senior Kate Martin had a breakout performance with 20 points on a perfect 6-6 effort from deep despite averaging just 4.2 points per game prior to Sunday.

In the second half, UConn shot 67.7 percent from the floor and made 7-10 from three.

A shaky start from UConn on both ends of the floor allowed Iowa to take an early lead, but it didn’t last long. The Huskies used their advantage in the paint to spark an 8-0 run which started on back-to-back baskets from Edwards and a few offensive boards from Griffin.

UConn held Iowa at arm’s length for most of the first quarter, leading by six after 10 minutes, but came undone at the start of the second. The Huskies got sloppy with the ball and struggled to find open shots, which opened the door for the Hawkeyes to score in transition. Iowa scored 12 of the first 14 points in the quarter to take a five-point lead.

The offensive struggles continued, as UConn had no answers for the Hawkeyes’ zone and was coughing the ball up too easily. On the other end, Iowa caught fire from deep and went 4-of-9 from three in the second quarter.

The Hawkeyes out-scored UConn 27-15 in the second quarter and took a six-point lead into the halftime break.

The Huskies started to turn things around by scoring the first two baskets of the second half but fell back into their bad habits and gave up 11 of the next 13 points, which put Iowa up 11 — its largest lead of the day.

Finally, Fudd turned things around. She scored two straight jumpers to spark an 11-0 run in the span of fewer than two minutes, which she capped with her first three, which was only UConn’s second made three of the day. Fudd racked up 16 points in the third quarter — as many as Iowa had as a team — as the Huskies pulled ahead by four entering the final quarter.

The game of runs continued, however. Iowa opened the final period with nine unanswered points to go up by five. Fudd broke the run with a 3-pointer but Iowa still held a four-point advantage with six minutes left.

That’s when UConn made its move. Ducharme and Lopez Sénéchal hit back-to-back 3-pointers to grab the lead back. A tough basket from Edwards in the lane and a mid-range jumper from Lopez Sénéchal sparked a 10-0 run that put UConn up, 76-70.

After an Iowa timeout, Ducharme hit a triple to extend the lead to nine. While Clark came back with a 3-pointer of her own, Fudd answered immediately to keep the advantage at nine. That lead proved to be insurmountable. The Hawkeyes did manage to get back within five after Gabby Marshall followed a 3-pointer from Clark with a jumper, but there were just 36 seconds left.

From there, UConn held on for the seven-point victory.

The Huskies improve to 5-0 on the season. UConn will fly home and rest up until Friday, when it opens Big East play against the Providence Friars at Gampel Pavilion.