Paige Bueckers lifts No. 2 UConn over No. 1 South Carolina in OT
2/8/2021 9:43:00 PM EST
Paige Bueckers scored 31 points as No. 2 Connecticut knocked off visiting No. 1 South Carolina 63-59 in overtime Monday night in a battle of nonconference women's basketball powers at Storrs, Conn.
The Huskies (14-1) improved to 9-0 this season at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion as well as 9-1 all-time against the Gamecocks.
South Carolina (15-2), which beat UConn by 18 points last season in Columbia, S.C., had a 12-game winning streak snapped in which the Gamecocks had won by an average margin of 23.8 points.
UConn was held to nearly 25 points below its season average, but it didn't matter as Bueckers continued her torrid play of late. She scored 30 or more points for a third consecutive game, becoming the first UConn freshman to accomplish that feat. The consensus No. 1 overall recruit in the nation last year, she has averaged 28.4 points over the Huskies' last five games.
Bueckers, who leads the team in scoring, assists, steals and 3-point field goal percentage, scored the Huskies' final 13 points of the game, including all nine in overtime.
South Carolina led by as many as six points in the first period as the Huskies made only 5 of their first 22 shots from the floor, including going 0-for-5 from 3-point range. But UConn battled back to tie the game at 16 early in the second period and the Huskies took their first lead of the game with 1:02 remaining in the half on a steal and fast-break layup by Bueckers.
Aaliyah Edwards added a layup with four seconds left in the second period, but the Gamecocks' Zia Cooke hit a half-court shot at the buzzer -- the first 3-pointer in the game by either team -- to tie the game at 24 at the half.
Bueckers began to find her range in the third period, scoring 10 points in the period as the Huskies outscored South Carolina 21-17 in the period to forge ahead 45-41.
The Gamecocks used an 11-0 run midway through the fourth period to pull ahead 54-50, but Bueckers scored on a layup and a baseline jumper in the final 1:35 to tie the game and force overtime.
Bueckers then scored all of UConn's points in the extra period, including a 3-pointer with 10.8 seconds left to clinch it, her only 3-pointer made in six tries. She made 14-of-26 shots from the floor overall.
Aliyah Boston led South Carolina with 17 points and 15 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season while Cooke and Destanni Henderson each added 11 points.
South Carolina outrebounded UConn 52-39, but committed 21 turnovers.
--Field Level Media
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