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UConn returns to form to win Big East tournament


UConn secured its 20th Big East championship on Monday, taking down Villanova 70-40. It’s the Huskies’ ninth straight conference title, with seven of them coming as members of the American Athletic Conference.

It was a rematch and a bit of revenge for No. 6 UConn after Villanova ended the team’s conference win streak of 169 games in early February. This game was entirely different, with UConn dominating from beginning to end.

“I think all of us knew in the locker room before the game that it would be a totally different game than the first time,” Evina Westbrook said.

UConn’s bench scored 28 points to Villanova’s six. They also outscored the Wildcats 38-16 in the paint and had 22 points off turnovers versus just 10 for Villanova.

The Huskies’ defense was on full display as Villanova managed just eight points in the second and third quarters with just one player, Maddy Siegrist, scoring in double-digits. She had 16 points while Brianna Herlihy had eight points and five rebounds.

“We are pretty efficient on defense and that’s what we hold ourselves to,” said Aaliyah Edwards. “Being able to switch one through five is very impactful and shows how aggressive we can be on defense, which leads to being aggressive on offense as well.”

Westbrook led all scorers with 13 points. Edwards had 12 points and six rebounds while Olivia Ododa-Nelson had 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. Sophomore guard Paige Bueckers is continuing to make her way back from a knee injury and had just two points, one rebound and one assist through eight minutes.

“She’s got a lot of work to do. She has her good days, her bad days,” Auriemma said of Bueckers postgame. “My big thing is, yeah, get her physically feeling better. She has to get her mind right now. She hasn’t been in that mode for three months or whatever it is now. That will be job number one (the) next 10 or 11 days.”