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Big East Semifinals: UConn women’s basketball runs over Marquette, 71-51

The Huskies rode a strong first half into the Big East championship game.

UConn’s Paige Bueckers #5 celebrates with Christyn Williams #13 after Williams scored and was fouled in the second quarter vs Marquette.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn women’s basketball advanced to a conference tournament championship game for the 29th year in a row as it ran past the Marquette Golden Eagles 71-51 in the Big East Tournament semifinals.

The Huskies got a balanced scoring effort as Evina Westbrook led the team with just 14 points while all nine players in the rotation found the basket. Dorka Juhász chipped in 13 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Christyn Williams added 13 points as well. Aaliyah Edwards dominated down low with 11 boards — four of which were offensive — to go with eight points.

Paige Bueckers had a quiet day as she finished with two points, two assists and two rebounds on 1-of-4 shooting in 18 minutes. Azzi Fudd also couldn’t find her shot as she hit just 1-of-9 from the floor.

After slow starts in its two previous games, UConn jumped all on Marquette from the opening tip and ran out to a quick 7-0 lead. While turnovers plagued the Huskies, every other aspect of their game was nearly flawless early on. They forced Marquette into bad shots and turnovers and immediately went down the other end and scored.

Williams powered the offense in the opening minutes as she scored eight of the Huskies’ first 13 points — including six in a row at one point. She drove hard to the basket, where Marquette had no answers for her — or any UConn player, for that matter. The Huskies totaled 16 points in the paint in the first quarter and 36 on the day.

After one quarter, UConn led by 16 and the advantage only grew from there. Westbrook scored five straight points to start the second period as part of an 11-0 run from the Huskies. The Golden Eagles found some footing at the end of the first half but even then, they couldn’t get the gap within 20 points at the midway point. UConn went into the locker room with a comfortable 39-18 lead.

Out of the break, Marquette scored nine of the first 13 points in the quarter and cut the deficit down to just 16 points, but the Huskies answered with a 13-0 run that quickly ended the Golden Eagles’ comeback hopes. Marquette didn’t go away as it out-scored UConn 19-12 in the fourth quarter but the Huskies’ sizable lead allowed them to come away with a 20-point victory.

With the win, the Huskies improve to 24-5 and advance to the Big East championship game, where they’ll play Villanova. Tip-off from Mohegan Sun Arena is set for 8 p.m. EST on FS1.