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UConn women's basketball to take on old Big East rival Syracuse in Round of 32

The women's basketball team soundly defeated 16 seed High Point in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Credit: AP
UConn forward Aaliyah Edwards (3) blocks High Point guard Jenson Edwards (12) as she tries to score during the second half of a college basketball game in the first round of the women's NCAA tournament at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAN ANTONIO — Was there really ever doubt? 

Yes. First, they lost Geno Auriemma due to him testing positive for COVID-19 for two games. Yes. They lost assistant Shea Ralph, who left Texas after her family member tested positive for the virus. 

But this is UConn women's basketball, a team that has dominated their sport in the last 20 years with such command that only the New England Patriots come to mind for comparison (but the Pats have won less!)

The UConn women's team advanced to the Round of 32 after a thrashing of High Point, beating the Panthers 102-59. 

Now the Huskies coming off an overall 25-1 season and going undefeated in conference play, will take on their old Big East rival Syracuse who are coming off their own impressive win against South Dakota State. 

The Orange are coming off a 15-8 (9-7 ACC) season and will look to expand their five-game winning streak. 

“They have a different style of play, and I think they play the zone, they extend it, they match up out of it, and they try to keep you off-balanced and that’s going to be a challenge for our young team to handle, said Associate Head Coach Chris Dailey.  

Syracuse will have their hands very full keeping UConn's many offensive weapons in check.

Big East Player of the Year Paige Bueckers is coming off a game where she scored a school-record for NCAA debuted with 24 points and added 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals.  She was joined by Aaliyah Edwards and Evina Westbrook who scored 17 and 10 points respectively. 

“The good thing is Syracuse doesn’t have much time to prepare for us either so everybody’s in the same boat and I think they understand that if they want to move on we have to win and to do that we have to be prepared and I think that my expectations is that they’re going to be locked in,” said Dailey. 

Auriemma has said his team just needs to win two games for him to rejoin them in Texas. Will Syracuse be able to stop this reunion while pulling off a league-shattering upset? That remains to be determined. 

The Huskies will take on The Orange Tuesday at 9 PM on ESPN in the Alamodome. 

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