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Women's basketball: Paige Bueckers leads UConn to Final Four

Women's basketball: Paige Bueckers leads UConn to Final Four
UConn's Paige Bueckers (5) made 10 shots and scored a game-high 28 points to lead her team to a win over Baylor in the Elite Eight of the 2021 NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament Monday in San Antonio. Photo courtesy of UConn Athletics

March 30 (UPI) -- UConn freshman Paige Bueckers lit up Baylor for a game-high 28 points to lead the Huskies to an Elite Eight victory and into their 13th consecutive Final Four at the NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament.

Bueckers made 10 of 22 shots in the 69-67 victory Monday at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The top-seeded Huskies made 47.1% of their 3-point attempts and shot 43.3% from the floor in the victory over the No. 2 Bears.

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"Paige got that look in her eye, started getting some buckets," UConn coach Geno Auriemma told reporters. "And when Paige is scoring, the rest of the team really gains a lot of confidence.

"Our defense got just really good at the end, and we got some great stops."

RELATED March Madness roundup: Houston, Baylor reach Final Four

The star freshman scored nine points in the first quarter to help the Huskies take an early 26-24 lead. The Bears then went on a 5-0 run at the end of the second quarter and had a 39-37 lead at halftime.

The Bears then pushed their lead to 10 points in the third quarter, but the Huskies cut the deficit to 55-54 going into the final frame. The Huskies then started the final frame on an 11-0 run to take a 64-55 lead with 7:13 to go. The Bears trimmed the lead to one point, but were never able to tie the game or take a lead down the stretch.

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Dijonai Carrington scored a team-high 22 points and had seven rebounds for Baylor. NaLyssa Smith chipped in 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Bears.

RELATED March Madness roundup: UCLA outlasts Alabama in OT to reach Elite Eight

Cristyn Williams had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Huskies. Evina Westbrook also scored 11 points for UConn.

"Getting a tough win like that against one of the best teams in the country is so rewarding," Bueckers told reporters. "It's really indescribable. It's like a dream come true."

The Huskies face Arizona in the Final Four on Friday at the Alamodome. Texas battles South Carolina in one of two Elite Eight games at 7 p.m. EDT Tuesday in San Antonio.

RELATED Women's basketball tourney: Paige Bueckers sets points record, UConn routs High Point

The winner of that matchup will face Louisville or Stanford in the other Final Four matchup Friday in San Antonio.

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