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UConn Outlasts NC State in Double OT to Reach Record 14th Straight Final Four

For a record 14th straight year, the women’s NCAA tournament will welcome UConn to the Final Four.

The No. 2 Huskies punched their ticket to Minneapolis with a 91–87 victory over the No. 1 NC State Wolfpack in a double overtime thriller on Monday night in Bridgeport. UConn forced 14 turnovers and survived a furious fourth quarter and overtime effort from NC State to reach a 22nd Final Four under coach Geno Auriemma.

Tied at 61 at the end of the fourth quarter, the two teams traded baskets in the opening minute of overtime. UConn star guard and reigning Naismith College Player of the Year Paige Bueckers then went on to score 10 points in the first extra period to give the Huskies a late advantage. The Wolfpack’s Jakia Brown-Turner played spoiler in the moment, drilling a three-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining to send the game to second overtime.

In the second overtime frame, Bueckers picked up where she left off, draining her first two jumpers to put UConn back in front. Consecutive layups from Christyn Williams in the final 23 seconds delivered the final dagger to NC State. 

UConn led for most of the evening after dropping behind 2–0 in the opening minutes of the game. NC State finally reclaimed the lead early in the fourth quarter before the game ended up up tied after a back-and-forth end to regulation.

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A trio of guards powered the Huskies all night long, just as they have throughout the regular season. Bueckers led the way for all scorers with 27 points, including 23 in the second half and overtime. Williams tacked on 21 points and freshman Azzi Fudd added 19 points of her own to supplement the Uconn star.

Brown-Turner powered NC State’s offense, scoring 20 points and helping the Wolfpack’s efforts on the glass with eight rebounds. Center Elissa Cunane dropped 18 points and nine rebounds while Jada Boyd provided NC State with a late spark, scoring 14 points off the bench.

Uconn will face No. 1 Stanford in the Final Four after the Pac-12 program snuck past Texas with a 59–50 victory on Sunday evening. The Cardinal have been tested during their last two games in the 2022 tournament but now stand just two wins away from repeating as national champions. 

UConn and defending champions Stanford will square off Friday with a spot in the title game on the line.

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