Paige Bueckers tied her season high with 32 points, freshman Ashlynn Shade added 19, and No. 3 seed UConn held off Syracuse 72-64 on Monday night to earn a 30th straight trip to the Sweet 16.

It was Bueckers’ fifth straight game with at least 25 points, and seventh in her last eight games.

Dyaisha Fair scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half as Syracuse came back from a 12-point first-half deficit to pull within two with just under two minutes left. But the Orange missed four 3-point attempts down the stretch and UConn scored seven of the game’s final eight points.

Sophie Burrows scored a career-high 18 points and Georgia Woolley had 13 of her 18 in the first half for the Orange.

UConn led by 11 points at halftime and Shade’s 3-pointer from the right corner, her fourth of the night, gave the Huskies a 53-44 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

But after UConn pushed that lead to 10 points, Husky point guard Nika Muhl, who had been guarding Fair, picked up three fouls in 30 seconds and fouled out of the game.

Coach Geno Auriemma had to be restrained by his assistants after she was called for her last, an offensive foul as she was bringing the ball up the court, with UConn up 63-55 and 5:17 left in the game.

After Shade extended the lead back to 10 with a jumper, Fair and Burrows hit back-to-back 3-pointers and an elbow jumper from Alyssa Latham made it 65-63 with 1:53 left.

But freshman KK Arnold made a clutch 3-pointer from the left wing with 28 seconds left which pushed the lead back to six and Syracuse missed four contested 3-pointers down the stretch.

The Orange had an early 16-13 lead after a 3-pointer from Burrows, but the Huskies responded with a 17-2 run, keyed by three corner 3-pointers from Shade.

Bueckers, who was a first-team All-American, had 20 points before intermission and her shot with three seconds left in the half sent the teams to the locker room with UConn leading 39-28.


Syracuse: This was the 53rd meeting between the former Big East rivals. Syracuse came in having lost 26 straight games against UConn by an average of more than 30 points. The teams last played in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, an 83-47 rout in favor of the Huskies.

UConn: Bueckers’ 32 points were the most she’s ever scored in an NCAA Tournament game. Muhl’s first-quarter pass that set up one of Shade’s five three pointers was her 660th assist, passing Moriah Jefferson for the most in program history.


The Huskies will face No. 7 Duke in Portland. The Blue Devils upset No. 2 Ohio State in Sunday’s second round.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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