UConn’s Paige Bueckers finished the first half of Monday’s Elite Eight contest against NC State with just four points. The Huskies’ lead, once in the double digits, was dwindling.

Still, Christyn Williams remained confident in her team and in the sophomore star.

“Literally, I was thinking, we have Paige Bueckers and they don’t,” Williams said.

Bueckers went on to score 15 points in the two overtime periods – 10 in the first, then the first five points of the second – to push No. 2 seed UConn to a 91-87 win over No. 1 seed NC State in Bridgeport, Conn. The star guard finished with a game-high 27 points.

Last season’s Associated Press National Player of the Year, Bueckers missed 19 games this season after a left knee injury and subsequent surgery sidelined her for more than two months. She returned to the court in late February and has helped lead the Huskies to the Final Four.

“When everyone’s healthy, they’ve got a shot to win it all, and it makes it that much harder to swallow when you didn’t quite get that done,” NC State coach Wes Moore said.

UConn advances to the national semifinals at Target Center in Minneapolis, just 10 miles from Bueckers’ hometown of Hopkins, Minn.

The Huskies, who are seeking their first national championship since 2016, will face No. 1 seed and defending champion Stanford on Friday.

UConn managed a comeback against Depaul on Wednesday 80-78 as freshman guard Azzi Fudd made a thundering return to the court.

It’s No. 10 UConn’s 20th-straight win against DePaul in the series between the two Big East teams. It also extends the Huskies’ regular-season conference winning streak to 143 games, a DI record.

Originally scheduled to play Dec. 31, the matchup was postponed due to COVID-19. It was rescheduled for Wednesday after the matchup between UConn and No. 1 South Carolina was canceled to prioritize conference play.

Up by nine at the half, the Blue Demons were outscored 23-13 in the third quarter before rebounding in the fourth to keep it close. A last-second tiebreaking layup by Caroline Ducharme was the only difference maker between the two teams.

Still without Paige Bueckers, the Huskies were boosted by the return of Christyn Williams and Azzi Fudd. Williams has been out for three games due to COVID-19 protocols while Fudd has been out since November with an ankle injury.

Williams scored 17 points while Fudd came off the bench to add 15 points and three steals. Ducharme had a team-high 19 points but found herself in foul trouble late in the game.

“Caroline got in some foul trouble, so if [Fudd and Williams] didn’t play, there’s no way that we could have won this game today,” head coach Geno Auriemma said postgame.

DePaul freshman standout Aneesah Morrow contributed a game-high 30 points and 14 rebounds. Teammate Sonya Morris added 19 points.

“We had them. We really missed the opportunity,” Morris said. “So I think we’re really just going to learn from it and grow from it individually and as a team.”

UConn is back in action against Providence on Sunday.