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UConn women’s basketball grinds out win over Kansas, 71-63

Aubrey Griffin set a season-high in scoring while Paige Bueckers had another big game.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn women’s basketball closed its trip to the Cayman Islands with a gritty 71-63 win over the Kansas Jayhawks. After trailing early, the Huskies went ahead at the 6:51 mark of the first quarter and held the lead the rest of the way.

Ashlynn Shade got her first career start in place of Caroline Ducharme, who missed her second consecutive game with neck spasms. She scored UConn’s first points and finished with four points and four rebounds. Aubrey Griffin set a season-high with 20 points while Paige Bueckers had a team-high 22 points despite playing just 25 minutes due to first half foul trouble.

Nika Mühl filled the stat sheet with seven rebounds, six points and six assists while Aaliyah Edwards had nine points and seven rebounds, but did not return after taking a shot to the head in the third quarter.

After falling behind 6-4 in the opening minutes, the Huskies settled in and took control. They finished the first quarter on a 13-3 run and allowed just a single point over the final 4:58 of the period — most of which came without Bueckers, who went to the bench with two early fouls.

The offense ground to a halt in the second quarter, though. UConn managed just eight points while turning the ball over seven times. At one point, the Huskies went nearly five minutes without scoring and had just four buckets in the period. Luckily, the defense held strong and only gave up 11 points, so UConn took a 25-20 lead into the locker room.

Out of the break, the two teams combined for 10 points in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Then over the last six minutes, they piled up 29 points. UConn pushed its lead to as many as 10, but Kansas answered to get it down within four. Then, the Huskies closed the period with four-straight points — capped by a triple from Bueckers as part of a 15-point quarter — to go up by eight.

Over the final 10 minutes, UConn held the Jayhawks at arm’s length. Kansas got as close as five with 1:44 remaining, but the Huskies scored the next five points and eventually finished with a eight-point victory.

Next, UConn will return to the United States and get a week off before traveling to Texas on Sunday, Dec. 3.