Bueckers, UConn beat Clark, Iowa in women’s Sweet 16

  • Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith (1) and Queen Egbo celebrate after beating Michigan 78-75 in overtime in the Sweet 16 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • UConn guard Paige Bueckers reacts to a score during UConn’s Sweet 16 contest against Iowa on Saturday. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAN ANTONIO — Christyn Williams scored 27 points, Paige Bueckers had 18 and No. 1 UConn beat fifth-seeded Iowa 92-72 on Saturday in the Sweet 16 of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

The game featured a matchup of talented freshmen in Bueckers and Iowa’s Caitlyn Clark. The friends had taken the women’s basketball world by storm this season.

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Bueckers became the third freshman to earn All-America honors. Clark led the nation in scoring and came into the regional semifinals averaging 29 points in the tournament.

They didn’t disappoint.

Bueckers also had nine rebounds and eight assists for UConn (27-1). Clark had 21 points for Iowa (20-10) on 7-for-21 shooting.

The game marked the return of UConn coach Geno Auriemma, who missed the opening two rounds because he was recovering from the coronavirus. Auriemma arrived in San Antonio on Wednesday.

Next up for the Huskies is Baylor on Monday night in the River Walk regional final.

BAYLOR 78, MICHIGAN 75, (OT)

NaLyssa Smith scored 24 points and Queen Egbo made two big plays in the final seconds of overtime, leading second-seeded Baylor to the victory.

Egbo gave Baylor a 78-75 lead with a foul shot with 19 seconds left. After Leigha Brown scored for Michigan, Egbo picked up an assist on Moon Ursin’s wide-open layup.

Akienreh Johnson missed a half-court try for sixth-seeded Michigan, and the Big Ten team was unable to get a last shot near the basket before time ran out.

Smith was 11 for 11 from the floor. Ursin had 20 points for Baylor (28-2).

Brown scored 23 for Michigan (16-6), which had never before advanced this far in the tournament.

MERCADO REGION

INDIANA 73, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 70

Ali Patberg scored 17 points to help Indiana reach the regional final for the first time in school history.

Indiana (21-5) had been in the Sweet 16 just once before, back in 1983 before the women’s NCAA Tournament became a 64-team field.

No. 4 seed Indiana led 70-60 with 2:51 left before top-seeded N.C. State scored eight straight points to get within two with 1:21 left. The Wolfpack (22-3) had a chance to tie it, but Elissa Cunane missed a contested layup with 30 seconds left.

Raina Perez made a jumper in the lane to get N.C. State back within two with 13.5 seconds left. Patberg then hit one of two free throws to make it 73-70 and Cunane missed badly on a 3-point attempt just before the buzzer.

Jada Boyd scored 18 points for N.C. State, and Perez had 17.

Indiana advances to play third-seeded Arizona on Monday.

ARIZONA 74, TEXAS A&M 59

Aari McDonald scored 31 points to lead Arizona into the regional final for the first time.

The Wildcats (19-5) had only made one previous trip the regional semifinals, when coach Adia Barnes was a player in 1998. This time they rode 13 3-pointers to the school’s biggest victory yet.

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McDonald was 6-of-12 shooting from long range. She also helped shut down Jordan Nixon, whose late-game heroics had pulled Texas A&M through the first two rounds. Nixon finished with three points after scoring 35 in the second round.

Aaliyah Wilson scored 17 points for No. 2 seed Texas A&M (25-3).

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