UConn women’s basketball cruises through the Big East tournament

By Gabby Alfveby

The UConn Huskies won their 29th conference championship with 22 of them being in the Big East. The Huskies took down Georgetown 78-42.

The Huskies are no strangers to playing at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville Connecticut where they hold a record of 41-1.

Despite their success UConn has had to overcome the adversity of injury the past few seasons. They currently only have half of their roster available. 

People have wondered what a completely healthy UConn team would look like, but the injuries instead have forced other players to step up.

Freshmen guards KK Arnold (#2) and Ashlynn Shade (#12) have become regular starters and key factors to the team’s success. Their confidence has increased throughout the season where both players earned Big East regular season awards.

Shade was named freshman of the year while Arnold was named to the all-freshman team.

The Big East tournament began with the first round on Friday, March 8. No. 9 Providence defeated No. 8 Butler in game one (75-60). No. 7 Seton Hall defeated No. 10 DePaul in game two (71-64). In game three No. 6 Georgetown defeated No. 11 Xavier (62-40).

The winners of the first round moved on to the Quarterfinals which were on Saturday, March 9. In game four No. 1 UConn faced No. 9 Providence and beat them with ease.

UConn then moved on to the Semifinals on Sunday, March 10 and faced No. 5 Marquette. UConn Center Aaliyah Edwards (#3) took a hit to the face during game four causing her to sit out due to a broken nose.

Ice Brady (#25) grabs a rebound on defense. Photo by Gabby Alfveby.

The Huskies played with just seven players during the semifinals. Although they were shorthanded with an already heavily injured team they battled. Paige Bueckers (#5) stepped up with the absence of Edwards.

Bueckers had a double-double performance with 27 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Ice Brady (#25) also stepped up in her second start of her career. 

Edwards was yet again unavailable to compete in the Big East championship game against Georgetown. She is expected to make a return for the 2024 March Madness tournament.

The unranked Georgetown Hoyas upset #21 Creighton to move on to their first Big East tournament championship in program history. This was also the Hoyas first victory over a ranked opponent since Feb. of 2014. 

The Huskies on defense against their opponent Marquette on Sunday, March 10. Photo by Gabby Alfveby.

It was a special day for the Hoyas as they accomplished this on what would have been Coach Tasha Butt’s 42nd Birthday. Butts was hired as the Hoyas coach in April but passed away in Oct. only two years after being diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer.

Brady made her third start of her career where she put the first points on the board for the Huskies. Brady was given her chance to shine at the end of the tournament and she did just that ending the first half with 11 points and five rebounds.

The Huskies defense helped them soar right through the first half outscoring the Hoyas 47-25, which set the pace for the rest of the game.

Bueckers went into the second half with 16 points and finished the game with 27 points.

Brady stepped up yet again and ended the game with eight rebounds and 13 points. Nika Muhl (#10) also came up big with nine assists. She holds the second-most assists in program history which is just eight assists behind Moriah Jefferson’s record.

The Huskies look to go far in the NCAA DI March Madness tournament which is set to begin March 20. They will await their seed which will be announced on Selection Sunday 8 p.m. ET March 17 on ESPN.

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