No. 10 UConn closes undefeated Big East regular season with 65-42 rout of Providence

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — No. 10 UConn completed an 11th unbeaten Big East regular season on Saturday.

Paige Bueckers scored all 17 of her points in the first half Saturday to lead the Huskies to a 65-42 win at Providence.

Aaliyah Edwards added 13 points and KK Arnold scored 12 for Connecticut (26-5, 18-0 Big East), which has won six straight games after falling to top-ranked South Carolina on the road.

UConn played this one with just eight active players having lost five for the season with injuries.

“People might not appreciate how incredibly difficult this is, and I do and everybody in our locker room does," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "To be that good and to be that consistent — home, away — this year, maybe more so than other years, it feels really gratifying."

The Huskies had already secured their 30th conference title (23 in the Big East) and the top seed in next week’s conference tournament.

Marta Morales Romero had 10 points for Providence (12-19, 6-12), which has lost eight of its last nine games.

UConn shut down the Providence offense, holding the Friars to 26% shooting (15 of 58) and scoring 19 points off 18 Friar turnovers.

Bueckers, who sat out the fourth quarter, scored the game’s first five points and had nine in the first quarter as UConn took a 21-13 lead.

Auriemma played Arnold and fellow freshman guard Ashlynn Shade (eight points and four assists) extended minutes Saturday, hoping to get them ready for the postseason, and give some relief to Bueckers and Edwards, who have been carrying the scoring load.

“He's been really adamant about our role and stepping up,” Shade said. “So that's been his big message and knowing what we're capable of doing and having the confidence to do that.”

The Friars hit just five of their 26 shots from the floor in the first 20 minutes and Connecticut closed the first half on a 14-1 run. They took at 37-16 lead into intermission and led 57-25 after three periods.

But Providence outscored UConn 17-8 in the fourth quarter and first-year coach Erin Batth said that shows the progress the team has made this season.

“When you are a head coach you’ve got to have that culture right,” she said. “Will these women fight for me? Are they listening to me? Will they go with me in anything that we do and they’re doing that.”

BIG PICTURE

UConn: This is the 14th team in Big East history to go undefeated in conference play. UConn was the last team to accomplish the feat, going 18-0 during the pandemic-marred 2020-21 season. They also went undefeated in all seven of their seasons in the American Athletic Conference.

Providence: Providence has now lost its last 35 meetings with UConn. The Friars last beat the Huskies on March 7, 1993, in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.

ANOTHER INJURY

Little-used UConn center Amari DeBerry remained on campus after suffering a concussion. Auriemma said its not clear if DeBerry will be available for the conference tournament.

UP NEXT

Both teams head to Uncasville, Connecticut, for next week's Big East tournament. Providence will face Butler in the 8-9 game on Friday. UConn will play the winner of that game in the quarterfinals after getting a first-round bye.

___

Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here

___

AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball