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UConn women’s basketball beats Marquette to claim Big East regular-season crown

Evina Westbrook provided 17 points off the bench as the Huskies rolled to a big win.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn women’s basketball clinched the Big East regular-season championship, defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles 69-38 at the XL Center on Wednesday. This is the ninth consecutive year the Huskies have claimed the conference regular-season crown and their 21st in the Big East.

Evina Westbrook finished with a game-high 17 points off the bench along with five rebounds and three steals. Olivia Nelson-Ododa got her first start since the Tennessee game and put up 10 points, six assists, six steals, and three blocks. Aaliyah Edwards also had a strong day in the post with 10 points and five rebounds while Azzi Fudd added 13 points.

UConn’s defense stifled Marquette all game. The Golden Eagles finished with a season-low in points and had more turnovers (22) than made baskets (17).

After a slow start on offense for both sides, UConn found a groove and closed the opening quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 15-8 lead. Nika Mühl picked up two early fouls which sent her to the bench and brought Westbrook into the game. The senior didn’t waste any time, scoring on her first touch and combined with Nelson-Ododa for all the Huskies’ points in the first.

UConn used a 10-0 run in the second quarter to build the gap past double-digits. The Huskies held the Golden Eagles to just six baskets but forced 12 turnovers in the first half to head into the locker room with a 31-14 lead.

UConn’s offense forgot to return to the floor after the break as it missed its first six shots and didn’t score for the opening 3:38 of the half. In that same time, Marquette scored seven points to cut the Huskies’ lead down to 10 and force Geno Auriemma to take a time out.

Fudd hit a 3-pointer from the corner to snap the drought. The freshman’s basket sparked an 8-0 spurt that gave UConn an 18-point advantage — its largest in the game to that point — and resulted in a timeout from Marquette.

When the Golden Eagles finally scored again, the Huskies just started another run, this time 7-0, to double up the visitors 46-23. After Marquette started the second half with seven straight points, UConn outscored them 20-4 over the final six minutes.

The fourth quarter featured little in the way of drama as the Huskies walked away with the 31-point victory. UConn improves to 20-5 on the season and 14-1 in Big East play on the season.

Paige Bueckers participated in warmups and dressed for the game for the first time since her left knee injury, but did not play. Dorka Juhász took a shot to the mouth in the fourth quarter and went into the locker room for the rest of the game.

Next, the Huskies will play their final game at the XL Center on Friday against St. John’s. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. EST on SNY.