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UConn beats NC State in double overtime to clinch Final Four berth

Paige Bueckers scored 15 points in overtime against NC State. (Photo by Khoi Ton/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

After a ferocious tug-of-war between No. 2 seed UConn and No. 1 seed NC State in Monday night’s Elite Eight contest in Bridgeport, Conn., the Huskies edged the Wolfpack 91-87 in double overtime.

A Christyn Williams layup with 5.2 seconds remaining in the second overtime put the game out of reach and sealed UConn’s 14th consecutive trip to the Final Four.

UConn star Paige Bueckers scored just four points in the first half but finished with a game-high 27 points overall. The sophomore tallied 15 points in overtime, including the first five points in the second overtime, to help her team clinch a berth in the NCAA tournament semifinals in Minneapolis, just miles from her hometown.

“Two days ago I said, ‘Win or go home,’” said Bueckers after the win. “But we won and I’m still going home!”

The Huskies will face another No. 1 seed in Stanford on Friday, while the Wolfpack missed out on what would have been their first Final Four appearance since 1998.

Jakia Brown-Turner led NC State with 20 points, including a 3-pointer over Bueckers with 0.8 seconds left in the first overtime to tie the score and force the second extra frame.

The game featured 18 ties and 26 lead changes.

UConn led by as many as 10 points in the first half but lost some energy after forward Dorka Juhász exited with an apparent wrist injury midway through the second quarter.

“This team has been through so much and it’s only made us stronger,” Bueckers said. “And if we see one of our sisters go down, we’re going to do it for her. We all love each other, we’re all so close. It just signifies what we’ve been through all year. Whole bunch of adversity, highs and lows, ups and downs. We stayed composed and we stayed together.”