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UConn is headed back to the Final Four

Paige Bueckers overtime heroics help the Huskies advance in the NCAA Tournament against NC State
Credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
Connecticut guard Paige Bueckers (5) drives to the lane against NC State during the first quarter of the East Regional final college basketball game of the NCAA women's tournament, Monday, March 28, 2022, in Bridgeport, Conn. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — UConn has advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament after beating NC State 91-87 in a double-overtime thriller. 

Paige Bueckers led all scorers with 27 points, and her magnificent performance in both overtimes helped UConn make their 14th straight final four. 

Bueckers was named the East Regions Most Outstanding Player.

"It's one of the best games I've ever been a part of since I been at UConn," said Head Coach Geno Auriemma.

"It was just a lot fun to play in," said Bueckers. 

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Senior guard Christyn Williams came out on fire for the Huskies scoring seven of UConn's first 11 points to start the game giving them a small but early lead.

Both teams put pressure on one another and neither backed away. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 16-14.

In the second quarter, sophomore guard Nika Muhl subbed into the game and provided an instant spark of aggression for the Huskies, as she forced an inbounds turnover and then grabbed an offensive rebound putback that helped them go ahead by nine early.

Later in the second, Junior forward Dorka Juhasz went down with what appeared to be a wrist injury after attempting to grab a rebound. She was helped off the court and did not return to the game.

NC State hung around though as the score after the first half was 34-28.

Bueckers got into double-digit scoring in the third after hitting a jumper on a fast-break to keep UConn's narrow lead.

But NC State continued to get closer and heading into the fourth quarter Uconn only lead by one point.

UConn's defense started to falter in the fourth allowing NC State to go up by four as a Diamond Johnson three-pointer forced Auriemma to call a timeout.

UConn did not let up as a huge Williams three and a fast-break layup put UConn right back in the lead.

With under two minutes remaining, Bueckers rose up and drained a clutch jumper to put them up by two points.

After a shot clock violation by UConn. NC State came down and tied it with a layup.

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Senior forward Olivia Nelson-Ododa then was fouled on a layup with under 30 seconds remaining but missed both of her free throws.

NC State had the final possession but waited until the final second to shoot and NC State's Kai Crutchfield missed everything and the game headed into overtime.

Bueckers took over scoring eight points and keeping UConn in the lead.

UConn led by three with only seconds remaining but NC State's Jakia Brown-Turner hit a corner three-pointer to tie leaving less than a second remaining. 

In the second overtime, Bueckers continued to show her clutchness with five straight UConn points. 

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UConn was then able to pull through in this double-overtime battle as a game-sealing Williams layup put UConn ahead by four with five seconds remaining.

The final score of the game was 91-87. 

UConn is now headed to Minneapolis to face Stanford on Friday.

Daniel Dashefsky is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at ddashefsky@fox61.com.


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