For the first time since 2005, the UConn women’s basketball season ends in the Sweet Sixteen. On Saturday, the 3-seed Ohio State Buckeyes knocked off the Huskies 73-61 at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.
UConn melted under Ohio State’s press and turned the ball over 25 times. The Huskies also went just 7-of-15 (a season-low 47% on a minimum of 10 attempts) from the foul line and were out-scored 32-28 in the paint.
After an early 10-2 lead, the Huskies fell apart and went behind early in the second quarter. They never recovered.
The loss ends the careers of Dorka Juhász and Lou Lopez Sénéchal. Lopez Sénéchal led the way with 25 points while Juhász had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Those two, along with Azzi Fudd, combined for 52 of UConn’s 61 points.
UConn had no answer for Ohio State freshman Cotie McMahon, who finished with 23 points.
UConn held Ohio State to one made shot in its first seven attempts. Without scoring, the Buckeyes couldn’t set up their press defense and struggled to stop the Huskies in the half-court.
After the early spurt in the first four minutes, UConn scored just three baskets the rest of the quarter. Ohio State finished the opening period on a 13-7 run to pull within two.
The second quarter was even worse. The Huskies didn’t take their first shot until the 5:27 mark, made just three baskets all period, and had 18 turnovers when they went into the locker room. Despite playing as bad as it could’ve in the first half, UConn only trailed by 10 at halftime. It seemed escapable.
The Huskies struggled to get any closer, though. They got within five points after scoring back-to-back baskets for the first time since the opening quarter, but Ohio State pushed it back to 10 points less than a minute later. At the end of the third quarter, UConn had failed to cut into the deficit at all, still trailing by 10.
The Buckeyes closed the door with a 7-0 run early in the fourth quarter to push the gap to 18 points with 7:19 remaining. Even though UConn came back with a 9-0 run, it wasn’t enough. The deficit proved to be too much to overcome as the Huskies fell by 12.
UConn’s Final Four streak ends at 14 with the defeat; the last time it missed the Final Four was in 2007. The Huskies finish the season with a 31-6 overall record.