UConn women’s basketball opened up their 2022 NCAA tournament with a 83-38 win over No. 15 seed Mercer at Gampel Pavilion. The No. 2 seed Huskies had another impressive defensive performance, and have now held six of their last seven opponents to 40 or fewer points. They held Mercer scoreless in the third quarter, recording the second shutout quarter in program history. The first was against Cincinnati in the 2018 AAC tournament.
Offensively, it was a balanced effort for the Huskies. Christyn Williams led all scorers with 13 points. Paige Bueckers and Caroline Ducharme also reached double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Dorka Juhasz had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
UConn was relentless on the glass to start. Mercer was unable to grab a rebound until nearly six minutes into the game. UConn turned those rebounds into seven second chance points in the first quarter, emerging with a 17-9 lead at the break. However, six turnovers in the first 10 minutes prevented the Huskies from opening up a bigger advantage early on.
The Huskies opened up the second quarter on a 15-2 run. Throughout the second 10 minutes, UConn allowed just four made field goals from Mercer but four trips to the line helped the Bears score 22 points in the first half, making it the first time in eight games UConn allowed more than 20 points in the first 20 minutes.
UConn still took a 20-point advantage into the locker room, with 43 points of their own. Williams led UConn with nine points at the break while Bueckers and Juhasz also added seven points apiece.
While the first half was far from perfect on both ends of the floor, the Huskies came out strong in the second half, holding Mercer scoreless in the third quarter. On the opposite, UConn struggled a bit from the floor shooting only 38 percent, but made up for it on the offensive glass as they turned eight offensive boards into 12 second chance points.
UConn kept in rolling in the fourth, starting out the quarter 3-4 from deep. The Huskies outscored Mercer 20-15 in the final frame to win the game by 45 points.
The Huskies also outrebounded the Bears handedly, with the 53-30 advantage on the boards. They recorded a season high 20 offensive rebounds in the win, rebounding 50 percent of their own misses. They turned those 20 offensive boards into 26 second chance points.
UConn will continue their NCAA tournament in the round of 32 on Monday. The Huskies will play the winner of No. 7 UCF and No. 10 Florida.