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Mar 28, 2022 11:52 pm

No. 2 UConn drops No. 1 NC State in double OT to reach Final Four

Paige Bueckers scored 23 of her game-high 27 points after halftime Monday night, lifting second-seeded Connecticut to a 91-87 double overtime win over top-seeded North Carolina State for the NCAA Tournament’s Bridgeport Region championship in Bridgeport, Conn.

The result gave UConn its 14th straight Final Four trip in its 16th consecutive regional final. The Huskies denied NC State its first Final Four appearance since 1998.

The Huskies (29-5) will meet defending NCAA champ Stanford on Friday night in the semifinals at Minneapolis.

Bueckers made 8 of 9 shots in the second half, including a 3-pointer and a pullup to start the second overtime that put the Huskies ahead for good. Christyn Williams added 21 points, including a clinching layup with 5.2 seconds remaining. Azzi Fudd tallied 19 and Aaliyah Edwards hit for 10.

Five players scored in double figures for the Wolfpack (32-4), led by Jakia Brown-Turner with 20 points. Elissa Cunane added 18, Jada Boyd scored 14 and Kai Crutchfield and Kayla Jones contributed 12 points apiece.

NC State tied the game at 61 with one minute left in regulation when Cunane powered home a layup. The Wolfpack then forced a second overtime when Brown-Turner drilled a corner 3-pointer over Bueckers with 0.8 seconds left.

UConn controlled most of the first three quarters, using significant advantages in points in the paint and points off turnovers. It was able to create better shots in the lane while forcing NC State to rely on 3-pointers that rarely found the mark.

The Huskies led by as many as nine in the second quarter but lost Dorka Juhasz, one of their top post players, to what was called a left wrist injury after she was fouled under the bucket. Cunane’s layup in the final minute drew the Wolfpack within 34-28 at halftime.

NC State kept working the game in the third quarter, finally finding the range from 3-point land after going 1 of 10 in the first half. Diamond Johnson drilled a 3 in the last minute, pulling the Wolfpack within 44-43 going to the fourth period.

–Field Level Media

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