UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Freshman Paige Bueckers scored 17 points and top-ranked UConn opened its postseason with a 77-41 rout of St. John’s in the Big East quarterfinals on Saturday.
Christyn Williams added 14 points for the Huskies (22-1). Olivia Nelson-Ododa collected each of her 10 points and 11 rebounds in the first half.
The biggest trouble for UConn occurred in the third quarter, when freshman guard Nika Muhl (five points, four rebounds) twisted her left ankle while making a pass. She had to be helped to the locker room and came back to the bench a few minutes later on crutches.
UConn put the game away early. The Huskies’ first four baskets were layups, and they were ahead 18-6 after 10 minutes.
Connecticut continued a 15-2 run into the second quarter and outscored the Red Storm 24-6 in the paint over the first 20 minutes, led by Nelson-Ododa’s seventh double-double of the season.
UConn led 38-15 at the break and 63-28 after three quarters.
Leilani Correa and Unique Drake each had seven points for St. John’s. The Red Storm, who lost to UConn 94-62 and 77-32 during the regular season, finish their campaign at 8-15.
St. John’s: The Red Storm, who beat Xavier 65-57 on Friday, have won their Big East opening-round game each time they have been an eight seed, but have fallen in the quarterfinals all five times. They have not won two games in the tournament since winning the championship in 2016.
UConn: The Huskies have made the semifinals of a conference tournament every year since 1988, when they lost to Boston College in the first round. UConn has now won 158 straight games against conference opponents since losing to Notre Dame in the Big East title game in 2013.
UConn will play Sunday against the winner of the quarterfinal between DePaul and Villanova.