Bueckers leads No. 2 UConn over No. 1 South Carolina in OT
AP Sports Writer
STORRS, Conn. (AP) Paige Bueckers scored 31 points, including her team’s final 13, to lead No. 2 UConn to a 63-59 overtime victory Monday over top-ranked South Carolina.
The freshman scored all of the Huskies’ nine points in overtime, including a 3-pointer that bounced high off the back of the rim before dropping in to give the Huskies the four-point margin with 10 seconds left.
The Gamecocks’ Zia Cooke and Destanni Henderson missed 3-pointers in the final seconds.
The thriller came just hours after the Gamecocks and Huskies earned the top two spots in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll.
Aliyah Boston had 17 points and 15 rebounds for South Carolina (15-2), which overcame a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
A layup by Aubrey Griffin had given the Huskies a 50-43 lead with just over 8 minutes left, before South Carolina turned up the defense and went on an 11-0 run.
Victaria Saxton’s layup over Nelson-Ododa gave the Gamecocks a 52-50 lead, and Boston’s jumper extended that to 54-50 with just under 2 1/2 minutes to play.
But Bueckers hit two straight jumpers to tie the game at 54 with 46 seconds left in regulation.
Henderson missed a fall-away jumper with 4 seconds left and the Gamecocks missed three chances to tip-in a game winner.
South Carolina had its 12-game winning streak snapped.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks have faced eight ranked opponents this season, with their only other loss coming on Dec. 3 against North Carolina State. The program lost the first eight meetings with the Huskies before blowing out UConn last year, 70-52 at home.
UConn: Bueckers has 142 points over her last five games and 93 over her last three, scoring 30 or better in each of those.
In a game of runs by both teams, the Gamecocks’ two surges came early in the fourth quarter and overtime, allowing UConn a chance to answer. After going up by three with under 2:00 remaining in OT with a 5-0 surge, the Gamecocks suffered a series of miscues down the stretch in the loss.
South Carolina entered the game averaging 20.3 fast-break points per game but were held to zero in that category on Monday.
- The Gamecocks outrebounded UConn 52-39, including a 19-13 edge in offensive boards.
- Sophomore Aliyah Boston was the catalyst in the run that put Carolina in a spot to win late, scoring five of her 17 points in the fourth quarter. Boston earned her eighth double-double of the season and fourth against a ranked opponent with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
- Sophomore Zia Cooke sank a half-court shot at the end of the first half to tie the game on her way to an 11-point, four rebound and three assist performance.
The No. 1/1 Gamecocks (15-2, 10-0 SEC) return to SEC action on Thursday when Missouri (7-7. 3-6 SEC) comes to town. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET from Colonial Life Arena with the game airing on the SEC Network.