By Doug FEINBERG, AP Basketball writer
San Antonio (AP) – The game was billed as the uber-talented freshman Paige Buicker and the marquee Milan of Kaitlyn Clarke. While both of them did not disappoint, it was Christine Williams and other big guys at UCinoe who stepped up and helped the Hawkeyes move on.
Williams added 18 points to lead the No. 1 UCWon to a 92–72 victory over fifth-ranked Iowa on Saturday in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, and the Bucers added 18.
“The fact is that there was a lot of hype on those two children. Its part was unfair and comes with the field, ”said Ucino coach Geno Auriemma. “Like I told the team before the game, in all these matchups, it comes down to someone else (). … Our defense was as bad as it was, in fact, really great when it was meant to be. Christine Williams, Avina Westbrook and Olivia (Nelson-Ododa), our three juniors were amazing. The way you wanted to play your uppercase. It wasn’t easy on Katelin or Peggy to play their normal game. “
The Bucers and Clark of Iowa brought a storm in the women’s basketball world this season. The Buchers became the third freshman to earn All-America honors. Clarke led the nation in scoring and advanced to the regional semifinals at an average of 29 points in the tournament.
“I was super excited for the game, just because of the spotlight on it,” said Buker, who also had nine rebellions and eight assists. “And I know everyone anticipated it to be Caitlin vs. Paige, but I was very excited for our team because I knew people were going to come and see our entire team play.”
Avina Westbrook just missed an 18th triple-double in NCAA Women’s Tournament history, including 17 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists for Yukon, taking her record to 27-1. Nelson-Odode added 11 rebounds and seven assists to go with four points. Freshman Aaliyah Edwards added 18 points.
“I knew they were going to be extra aggressive, especially on (Williams) and Paige, it’s kind of easy to focus on the rest of us,” Westbrook said.
Clarke, overshadowed by Williams on almost every possession, finished with 21 points – nearly 27 points below his game average. He was dismissed for just 7 runs on 21 runs from the field.
“I thought we played a great team basketball game,” Williams said. Therefore, I do not want to get all the credits, because it was a total team effort. “
The game marked the return of Arrima, who missed the opening two rounds while recovering from the coronovirus. Aurinem arrived in San Antonio on Wednesday.
Associate Head Coach Chris Daly, who guided the team through the opening two wins, moved back to his customary seat, where he was at UCON for his entire time.
Williams missed five of his first seven shots before going into the offense. He scored six straight goals in the second quarter, giving Yukon a 49–35 halftime lead. He had 14 points in the junior wing in this period.
Iowa (20-10), behind Clarke, was able to get to nine twice in the fourth quarter, but the Buchers responded with a 3-pointer each time and Iowa got no closer.
“This season was really special, and I think it’s only for this team from here. I know a lot of girls dream of going into all those bloods, but I think playing for your home state is something really special and making something is really special and here is my goal. “Frankly I still have three years left to do a lot of special work.”
UConn, playing in its 27th straight Sweet 16, faced Boiler – who overcame Michigan 78–75 in overtime to enter the River Walk Regional Finals.
For the first time in the tournament, the general public was allowed to participate in the Alamodome. Each game was allowed to have 17% capacity, which was about 4,800 fans. In the last two rounds, the teams were given six tickets per person at the travel party.
While on his last possession of Iowa, the Buchers did not guard Clarke too much in the game, he made a charge at his friend and patted him on the butt when the Hawkeyes’ newborn helped him.
“Me and Kaitlin are good friends, so just me taking that accusation on her, yeah, we exchanged a few words, I guess,” said the Bukkers smiling.
UConn had 30 assists in 40 baskets, which led to the Hawkeyes shooting about 55% from the field (40 for 73).
UConn freshman guard Nika Muhl missed her second straight game, while recovering from a sprained right ankle she was injured in the opening round win at High Point. He averaged 5.0 points, 2.7 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
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