UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Christyn Williams scored 26 points and top-ranked UConn used a stifling defense to overwhelm Villanova 84-39 on Sunday in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.
Paige Bueckers had 18 points and eight assists and Olivia Nelson-Ododa added 13 points and seven rebounds for Connecticut (23-1).
The Huskies will play for their 19th Big East title in their first year back in the league after spending seven seasons dominating the American Athletic Conference.
Connecticut put the game away in the first half, holding Villanova to just five baskets on 33 shots over the first 20 minutes (15%) and outscoring the Wildcats 20-3 in the second quarter.
The Wildcats had just 15 baskets in the game, shooting 18% from the floor.
A layup by Aaliyah Edwards gave the Huskies their first 20-point lead at 31-10 and a putback by Nelson-Ododa made it 30-point game a few minutes later. A three-point play by Bueckers at the end of the first half sent the Huskies into the locker room up 45-13.
They led 64-26 after three quarters.
Sarah Mortensen had 15 points to lead Villanova (15-6). Maddy Siegrist, the Big East’s leading scorer, put up her team’s first points on a three-point play, but was held scoreless the rest of the game.
Villanova: Siegrist, who came in averaging a league-best 23.6, had not scored fewer than nine points this season. The 39 points were the Wildcat’s fewest in any game this season. Their previous low was 48 in a two-point win over Drexel in December.
UConn: The Huskies advance to their 17th consecutive conference final, looking for an eighth straight conference tournament title. They will be looking for their first Big East championship since 2012 after losing the 2013 title game to Notre Dame. The Huskies are 159-0 in conference games since that loss.
Villanova awaits a tournament bid
UConn faces the winner of Sunday’s semifinal between Creighton and Marquette for the Big East championship on Monday night.