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UConn women roll into Elite 8

Balanced scoring from the Huskies led them to an easy 75-58 win against Indiana

BRIDGEPORT, Conn — The UConn women have advanced to the Elite Eight of the East Region in the NCAA tournament after beating Indiana.

Five UConn players ended up in double-figures, as UConn's new offense of balanced scoring from everyone was in full effect. 

Sophomore guard Paige Bueckers and Senior Christyn Williams led the way in scoring for UConn with 15 points each. 

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Indiana's Ali Pateberg was the leading scorer in the game though with 16 points. 

Bueckers, who is still trying to find her stride after coming back from injury, played her best game of the tournament and after the game, she said she just has to stay aggressive.

"My teammates did a great job of getting me open," said Bueckers. "I thought coming out aggressive really helped me."

Head Coach Geno Auriemma, who has repeated the sentiment that Bueckers still has not returned to her Player of the Year form from last year, said he wants her to play with the same confidence even if she's not playing as well. 

"We really want Paige to do well because she's coming off a big surgery," said Auriemma. "It's been a little bit of finding ourselves again, how much do we want to cheer for Paige and how much do we want to play basketball. Today she took a more assertive role." 

In the first half, UConn started off slow as they've been known to do in the past few games trading buckets with Indiana. 

Freshman guard Azzi Fudd was crucial for the Huskies in the first as she scored nine of her 13 points in the first. 

UConn pulled away slightly towards the end of the second quarter, but a buzzer-beater three from Indiana's Aleska Gulbe to close out the half put Indiana within four as UConn led 37-33. 

"Playing Indiana is probably as difficult as an assignment as anyone for our guards," said  Auriemma. "I thought we did an amazing job defensively in the game, not playing to their strength."

UConn came out of the half strong going on a quick 9-0 run started by a Bueckers three that put the Huskies up double digits. Indiana was forced to call a timeout to stop their reeling. 

UConn did not let up continuing to run up the score on Indiana going up by 20 until Indiana finally was able to stop the bleeding scoring their first points of the second half with a little more than five minutes remaining. 

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Indiana didn't let UConn's lead get any further but also did not mount a comeback big enough to make it close. 

Senior forward Olivia Nelson-Ododa was huge for the Huskies in this game, recording her tenth rebound in the fourth quarter to secure a double-double. Nelson-Ododa finished the game with 14 rebounds to go along with her 10 points. 

"I think from the beginning of the season rebounding has been a point of emphasis," said Nelson-Ododa. "So I think coming out today just crashing the boards was the difference. "

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UConn stayed in control till the end as the final score was 75-58.

UConn will now face the 1-seed North Carolina State in the Elite Eight on Monday at 7 p.m. back in Bridgeport

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


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