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UConn women’s basketball holds off St. John’s, 78-63

Aaliyah Edwards had a career day and Paige Bueckers took over in the fourth quarter.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

No. 11 UConn women’s basketball survived an upset bid from the St. John’s Red Storm, grabbing a 78-61 win at Gampel Pavilion on Sunday. The 15-point margin is the Huskies’ narrowest in conference play this season.

Aaliyah Edwards hit the 30-point mark for the first time in her career with 33 and added 13 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season. Paige Bueckers put up 26 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter. The rest of the team combined for 19 points.

Meanwhile, Nika Mühl dished out nine assists while KK Arnold chipped in six helpers.

Neither side had trouble finding the basket in the opening quarter. UConn shot 9-14 from the field and had 12 points in the paint while St. John’s scored eight points in the paint on seven shots. The Huskies led by just four despite scoring 21 through the first 10 minutes.

Once UConn’s defense solidified, it started to pull away. The Red Storm got within one on a 3-pointer to open the second quarter but didn’t hit another field goal for 4:50. During that stretch, the Huskies went on a 13-1 run to take a 13-point lead, their largest of the day to that point.

Then UConn went into a 2:32-long scoring drought, but not because its shots stopped falling. The Huskies turned the ball over three times in three possessions during that span, which allowed St. John’s to get back within single digits.

At that point, Mühl — who had been on the bench with two fouls since the seven-minute mark in the quarter — re-entered the game and set up two straight baskets to close the half. UConn went into the locker room with a 13-point lead.

The Huskies couldn’t put St. John’s away in the third quarter. The visitors dropped 20 points and outscored UConn by two in the period to get back within 11. The Red Storm then opened the fourth with back-to-back baskets to cut the deficit to just seven and forced Geno Auriemma to take a timeout.

That’s when Bueckers took over, scoring seven straight points to put the Huskies back in control. St. John’s got back within nine points, but Bueckers and Edwards combined for four straight points to slam the door shut. The duo scored 17 of UConn’s 18 points in the final period.

The Huskies improve to 19-4 overall and 11-0 in the Big East. Next, they’ll host Seton Hall at the XL Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET on SNY.