Bueckers gets hurt in UConn win

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  • Paige Bueckers
    American basketball player
UConn's Paige Bueckers (5) is helped off the court by Amari DeBerrym, left, after injuring herself in the second half against Notre Dame in Storrs..
UConn's Paige Bueckers (5) is helped off the court by Amari DeBerrym, left, after injuring herself in the second half against Notre Dame in Storrs..

STORRS - In the newest chapter of the UConn-Notre Dame rivalry, with head coach Niele Ivey at the helm of the Irish, the No. 2 Huskies took down the No. 24 Irish 73-54, on Sunday at Gampel Pavilion.

Sophomore Paige Bueckers earned her fourth 20-point game of the season and went 3-for-7 on 3s.

In a frightening moment, Bueckers went down in front of the Huskies’ bench with a non-contact left knee injury with under 40 seconds left in the game and UConn up by 18. The reigning national player of the year had to be helped off the court and later into the locker room.

Geno Auriemma says the doctors did a quick exam on Bueckers, and they’ll know more later after her MRI.

“It looked like it probably hyperextended, best case scenario,” the coach said.

The doctors said nothing twisted, according to Auriemma, which would have been “really bad.”

Senior Olivia Nelson-Ododa earned her first double-double of the season early in the third quarter. She fouled out late in the fourth, finishing with 14 points and 13 rebounds (five offensive), both season-highs.

Caroline Ducharme also had a season-best 14 points, the most promising performance of her young career.

For the second straight game, UConn outrebounded its opponent after losing the battle on the glass against USF and South Carolina. Their 14-0 edge in second-chance points in the first half was an early difference-maker, too. It was not a pretty start offensively for both teams, which combined for 11 turnovers in the first quarter.

UConn used a 7-2 run to pull ahead, 16-12, at the end of the period, a stretch that started with Dorka Juhász hitting Nelson-Ododa for a layup, Nika Mühl saving the ball from going out of bounds and hitting a 3, Bueckers converting a jumper after coming away with a steal.

Notre Dame's Dara Mabrey (1) fouls Connecticut's Christyn Williams during the Huskies' win Sunday in Storrs.
Notre Dame's Dara Mabrey (1) fouls Connecticut's Christyn Williams during the Huskies' win Sunday in Storrs.

Sonia Citron’s 3 tied things up at 19 early in the second quarter, but the Huskies closed out the half with a 16-6 run to go into the break up 10.

Nelson-Ododa was a big reason why, scoring eight points in that stretch alone, dominating the glass, finishing through contact and taking multiple trips to the line. She went into halftime with a double-double of 12 points and nine rebounds (five offensive).

Notre Dame cut the deficit to eight three times in the third, but UConn responded each time to extend their lead, first from Aaliyah Edwards and then from Bueckers.

A sloppy final minute in which Notre Dame drew some fouls and got to the line allowed the Irish to make it a 51-44 game going into the fourth.

The Huskies had as many turnovers (a season-high 20) as made field goals going into the final 10 minutes.

Nelson-Ododa’s basket and Bueckers’ 3, her third of the game, to start the fourth pushed UConn’s lead back up to double-figures.

Ducharme had some of her best minutes of her young career with three baskets, the first off a drive to the hoop, the next a 3 and the other a reverse layup.

The Huskies’ 13-0 run overall, where they also held the Irish scoreless from the field in the fourth until the 5:04 mark, put the game out of reach.

This article originally appeared on The Bulletin: Bueckers hurt in UConn win

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