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