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What Paige Bueckers’ return means for UConn’s tourney odds

Don’t look now, but UConn women’s basketball is clicking at the exact right time.

What Paige Bueckers’ return means for UConn’s tourney odds

Is it time to bet on the UConn women to win it all? We’re not saying yes – but we’re also not ruling it out after a strong first weekend with Paige Bueckers back in the lineup. The Huskies are tied for the fourth-best odds at +750 (bet $100 to win $750).

It’s been a tough season for UConn (22-5, 16-1 Big East), with eight of their 12 players sidelined at least two games due to illness or injury. But, finally, the team has everyone back on the court.

Reigning Player of the Year Paige Bueckers returned to the hardwood Friday in the victory over St. John’s after nearly three months following a knee injury that required surgery.

The Huskies’ highlights from the 55-point blowout over St. John’s:

  • This Bueckers buzzer-beater
  • Freshman Azzi Fudd notched 19 points (5-of-7 from 3 in 20 minutes)
  • Aaliyah Edwards recorded 16 points and seven rebounds
  • Evina Westbrook tied a career-best 10 assists
  • A season-high 51 halftime points while shooting a season-high 63.5% from the field
  • Team-high assists all season (27)
  • Largest margin of victory all year, holding St. John’s to 26.4% shooting while forcing 19 turnovers

It only got better for UConn on Sunday as Bueckers made her first start since Dec. 5 against Providence two days later:

  • Bueckers totalled a team-high 5 assists
  • Dorka Juhász grabbed her second double-double of the season (14 points, 10 rebounds) 
  • Christyn Williams led all scorers (16 points)
  • Olivia Nelson-Ododa added 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists
  • The team led 51-10 at halftime — tied for most points scored in a half this season, their largest margin at the half, and fewest points allowed
  • Held Providence to a season-low 18.2 percent shooting and season-low 31 total points

The victory came on Geno Auriemma’s 10th different starting lineup this season, and finally, things are falling into place as UConn enters the postseason next weekend as the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament.

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