UConn back in Final Four behind freshman phenom Bueckers

Paige Bueckers scored 28 points and top seed UConn used a huge run spanning the final two quarters to beat No. 2 Baylor 69-67 on Monday night and reach a 13th consecutive Final Four in the women’s NCAA Tournament.

UConn has made the national semifinals every season since 2008 and won six titles during that span. The Huskies await Arizona on Friday night.

It took a last-second stop and a disputed non-call to keep UConn’s streak going.

The Huskies (28-1) trailed 55-45 late in the third quarter before scoring 19 consecutive points, including 10 by the freshman phenom Bueckers.

Baylor (28-3) wouldn’t go away. Trailing 64-55, NaLyssa Smith ended the Lady Bears’ drought with 6:47 left and sparked a 12-4 burst that got Baylor within one after DiJonai Carrington converted two free throws with 19.3 seconds left.

UConn’s Christyn Williams missed two free throws to give the Lady Bears one last chance.

Carrington, who finished with 22 points, drove the lane to the left and missed a contested jumper from the baseline, a play in which a foul could have been called, but wasn’t.

MERCADO REGION

ARIZONA 66, INDIANA 53

Aari McDonald scored 33 points and No. 3 seed Arizona beat fourth-seeded Indiana to earn its first trip to the Final Four.

McDonald, the Pac-12 player of the year, did everything for the Wildcats, from slashing drives to a banked-in 3-pointer. She briefly left the game with a twisted ankle with 2:35 left, but limped back on and scored six more points. Her three-point play with 34 seconds left put the exclamation point on the victory for the Wildcats (20-5).

McDonald topped 30 points for the second straight tournament game. She was 12 of 20 shooting and made 5 of 6 3-pointers.

The Hoosiers never led and went scoreless for nearly four minutes after pulling even at 48-48 in the fourth.

Mackenzie Holmes scored 20 points for Indiana (21-6), which was playing its first Elite Eight game.

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