Bueckers scored 32 and No. 3 seed UConn holds off No. 6 seed Syracuse 72-64.

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn coach Geno Auriemma says his team will go as far in the NCAA Tournament as Paige Bueckers will take them.

It will also help if the Huskies freshmen continue playing the way they did Monday.

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

It was the All-American's fifth straight game with at least 25 points, and seventh in her last eight games.

“The stats will tell you one thing, you know? The 10 rebounds, six assists and the four steals,” Auriemma said. “But it’s like when they happen and how they impact the game that’s so remarkable."

Aaliyah Edwards finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds and freshman KK Arnold had 10 points including a key 3-pointer late in the game to help seal the win for the Huskies (31-5).

Dyaisha Fair scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half, after hitting just one of seven shots in the first, and Syracuse (24-8) came back from a 12-point first half deficit to pull within two with just under two minutes left.

Fair closes her career with 3,403 points, moving into third place on the all-time Division I scoring list, a point ahead of former Ohio State star Kelsey Mitchell.

“I just really wish (Fair's) struggle wasn't so enormous in the first half,” Syracuse coach Felisha Legette-Jack said. “Because she deserved to be celebrated a little bit more.”

Freshman Sophie Burrows scored a season-high 18 points and Georgia Wooley 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 with UConn up 63-55.

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.

“We called a huddle and we were, like, all right, we've got to band together, we've really got to focus and lock in the same way we did when Aaliyah went out (with a broken nose) for the Big East Tournament,” Bueckers said. “You just get hyper-focused, hyper locked-in and we just didn’t want our season to end. I thought we responded much better, in a much better way.”

Arnold made a clutch 3-pointer on a pass from Bueckers with 28 seconds left to push the lead back to six and Syracuse missed four contested 3-pointers down the stretch.

“We were prepared for situations like this and just stayed dialed in,” Arnold said.

The Orange had an early 16-13 lead after 3-pointer from Burrows, a freshman starting in place of an injured Kyra Wood.

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 and UConn now leads the series 40-13. 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 was the most she's ever scored in an NCAA Tournament game. ... Muhl's first-quarter pass that set up one of Shade's five 3-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 defeated No. 2 Ohio State in Sunday’s second round.


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