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UConn women’s basketball pulls away late from Marquette, 72-58

The Huskies out-scored the Golden Eagles 27-11 in the fourth quarter to earn the victory.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn women’s basketball used a 27-11 fourth quarter to take down the Marquette Golden Eagles by a final score of 72-58.

Marquette led by two entering the fourth but Azzi Fudd hit three straight baskets to spark a 12-0 run that turned a 55-52 UConn lead into a 67-52 advantage with less than three minutes left, which proved to be more than enough.

The freshman finished with 24 points, five rebounds and three assists. Dorka Juhász added 21 points — the second-straight game she surpassed the 20-point mark — to go with four rebounds and four assists. Nika Mühl didn’t score but added a team-high six assists along with seven rebounds while Evina Westbrook had 15 points and Christyn Williams had 10.

UConn committed a season-low six turnovers — none of which came in the fourth quarter — but forced seven Marquette giveaways in the fourth quarter and 15 overall. The Huskies also went 10-of-20 from 3-point range, which tied a season-high.

Both offenses started hot and combined for 41 points in the opening quarter. UConn made five of its first seven 3-pointers while Marquette went into the paint, where it scored 10 of its 21 points in the first 10 minutes. The Golden Eagles used an 8-0 run to take a 21-14 lead but the Huskies responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to close the gap to one at the end of the quarter.

As much as UConn excelled from beyond the arc, it struggled inside it. The Huskies made just 6-of-18 from 2-point range in the first half and once again, missed a handful of makable layups.

Marquette owned the post on both ends of the floor with an 18-8 advantage on points in the paint and 19-14 margin on the glass in the first half. Though Juhász had a team-high 12 points, she and Edwards combined to grab just four rebounds through 20 minutes. Neither team could build more than a one-possession lead and went into halftime tied at 31-31.

Out of the locker room, Fudd started to come alive. Though she hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the game, she was quiet until the third quarter, when she scored eight of UConn’s 14 points. However, the Golden Eagles took a two-point lead into the final period thanks to a Jordan King layup just before the buzzer.

The Huskies’ two best players combined to open the fourth quarter when Fudd dished to Juhász for a 3-pointer. Though Marquette responded with a quick jumper, UConn went on a 6-0 spurt to go up 54-49 — the first two-possession lead by either side in the second half — which prompted Golden Eagles coach Megan Duffy to take a timeout.

The break simply delayed the inevitable, though. While Marquette kept it close from the free-throw line, Fudd soon decided to put the game away. She exploded for eight straight points and sparked a 12-0 run that put the Huskies up 67-52 with 2:28 left.

With so little time left, the Golden Eagles couldn’t mount a comeback as UConn came away with the 14-point victory.

Marquette won the rebounding battle 33-28 but the Huskies had more offensive rebounds (10 to 9) and second-chance points (12 to 11). UConn ultimately scored more points in the paint as well, 26 to 22.

The Huskies improve to 18-5 on the season and 12-1 in Big East play with the win. UConn will have most of this week off before returning to action on Friday at Xavier.