Bueckers scores 28 and hits halftime buzzer-beater as No. 8 UConn rips Marquette 85-59


Paige Bueckers sinks half-court shot at the horn

Paige Bueckers beats the halftime buzzer with a shot from just inside the half-court line.

MILWAUKEE -- — UConn coach Geno Auriemma initially feared the worst possible scenario when Paige Bueckers clutched her surgically repaired left knee early in Tuesday's game.

Bueckers knew there wasn't much reason to worry.

After leaving early in the first quarter to get her knee checked, Bueckers scored 28 points and beat the halftime buzzer with a 3-point shot from about 40 feet away as No. 8 UConn topped Marquette 85-59 for its 13th consecutive victory.

Bueckers' big night was hard to imagine just over three minutes into the game when the 2021 AP national player of the year stayed on the floor in pain after taking a charge.

“Your mind goes to bad places when you see stuff like that happen,” Auriemma acknowledged.

Bueckers missed 19 games in 2021-22 and sat out all of last season due to two separate injuries to that knee. Bueckers knew right away she wasn't hurt seriously this time.

“It sounds bad, but knee injuries are better when it's contact,” Bueckers said. “It's sort of a knee-to-knee thing, which really hurts in the moment, but when I went down, I knew I was going to be fine. It was just more of an in-the-moment pain. I couldn't wait to get some ice on it and some padding, extra padding.”

Bueckers missed less than 2½ minutes of game action before returning. She tried to check herself back in earlier than that before Auriemma ordered her back to the bench.

She proceeded to shoot 11 of 18 overall and 4 of 5 from 3-point range. She closed the first half by taking a step or two beyond halfcourt and swishing a buzzer beater that gave UConn a 49-38 lead at the break.

Aaliyah Edwards had 10 points and 12 rebounds for UConn (17-3, 9-0 Big East). Ashlynn Shade had 15 points, while Nika Muhl and KK Arnold added 13 each.

Liza Karlen scored 21, Mackenzie Hare 19 and Jordan King 10 for Marquette (15-4, 4-4).

UConn was visiting Marquette for the first time since falling 59-52 to the Golden Eagles last season, which gave the Huskies their first two-game losing streak since 1993. The game occurred three nights after the Huskies had lost to South Carolina.

The Huskies had gained revenge Dec. 31 by thrashing Marquette 95-64 at Hartford to hand the Golden Eagles their first loss of the season. Since winning their first 12 games, the Golden Eagles have gone 3-4.

“We talked a lot in the locker room about how UConn's behind us now and we've got to go on a little bit of a tear and a run,” Marquette coach Megan Duffy said. “There's going to be bumps in the season, in Big East play especially. I just want a little bit more fight from our team. I want everybody to kind of turn it up a notch.”

The first half of Tuesday's game featured 10 lead changes and five ties, but UConn went on an 18-4 run late in the second quarter to grab a 46-33 advantage. Marquette scored five straight points to get back within single digits before Bueckers connected from about the “U” in the “MU” logo at midcourt.

UConn stayed in control the rest of the way and led by as many as 28.


UConn: The Huskies were breathing a collective sigh of relief that Bueckers wasn't seriously injured. Earlier in the day, Caroline Ducharme announced her ongoing head and neck issues would prevent her from playing again this season. Ducharme, who had last played on Nov. 19, became the fifth UConn player lost for the season due to health issues.

Marquette: The Golden Eagles trailed by double digits at halftime despite shooting 54.8% from the floor over the first two periods. They wore down after that and shot just 24.1% in the second half. Marquette also got outscored 38-16 in the paint and 24-9 in points off turnovers.


UConn: Hosts No. 15 Notre Dame on Saturday.

Marquette: Hosts Butler on Saturday.


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AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball