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No. 17 UConn women’s basketball blows past No. 18 Louisville, 86-62

The Huskies’ offense put up their best performance of the season in the win.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

No. 17 UConn women’s basketball’s offense exploded in an 86-62 win over No. 18 Louisville at the XL Center on Saturday. The Huskies shot a season-best 59.3 percent, assisted on 24 of 32 baskets and scored their most points against a power conference opponent this season.

They also got a balanced scoring effort. After UConn honored Paige Bueckers for reaching the 1,000-point mark before the season, she added 20 points along with five rebounds, four assists and a career-high five blocks.

Aubrey Griffin set a season-high with a team-best 25 points to go with four steals while Aaliyah Edwards had 22 points on 10-for-12 shooting. Nika Mühl reached double-digit assists for the 13th time in her career with 10 assists. KK Arnold chipped in 11 points, five assists and three steals as well.

While the Huskies committed 20 turnovers, they forced 19 themselves and scored three more points off those giveaways than Louisville. UConn also won the rebounding battle 33-to-29.

After allowing 27 points in the first quarter, the Huskies gave up just 35 points the rest of the game.

The first quarter had a lot of scoring and not a lot of defense. Both teams were on pace for 100 points after 20 minutes with UConn holding onto a narrow 28-27 lead. But as the Huskies’ offense continued to cruise in the second quarter, they started to get contributions from the defense, too.

UConn held Louisville without a point for over three minutes, which helped build a nine-point lead. Kiki Jefferson wouldn’t let the Huskies pull away, though — she scored the Cardinals’ final 11 points of the half to keep her side within four at the midway point.

Out of the break, UConn finally took control of the game and didn’t let up. The Huskies opened the third quarter with five straight points to push the advantage back to nine, then used an 8-0 run later to go up by double-digits for the first time.

Louisville didn’t put up much of a fight in the fourth. The visitors didn’t score a basket for the first three-and-a-half minutes and only managed 11 total points in the frame. Bueckers hit back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead over 20 points and four straight points from Griffin made sure the gap stayed that large. In the end, the Huskies pulled out a 24-point win.

Next, UConn will have just one day off before returning to the XL Center on Monday to open Big East play against the Butler Bulldogs. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on SNY.