UConn and Baylor clash 2 years after March Madness’s close clash

STORRS, Conn. — Baylor supporters still insist there were a foul or two that should have happened in the Bears’ final possession of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Tournament Regional Finals against UConn. Husky fans will tell you it was just a great defense.

Two years after the Huskies defeated the Bears 69-67 in the San Antonio bubble, the programs meet again, this time in a second-round game at the Huskies’ home court.

Just four players who were on the pitch for the 2021 game are expected to play Monday night – UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards and Aubrey Griffin, and Baylor’s Caitlin Bickle and Sarah Andrews.

Baylor also has a new coach in Nicki Collen, who took over after Kim Mulkey left LSU.

The rivalry between the two teams remains. Andrews admitted that she will play partly for her former teammates.

“It will always be a fun game to play against UConn,” she said. “There are just moments that people live for, to play like that on stage. You know we’re gonna have fun going out and fighting hard.

PHOTOS: UConn, Baylor clash 2 years after March Madness’ close clash

Baylor (20-12) will be looking for his 16th trip to the Sweet 16 and 13th in 14 years.

UConn (30-5) is hoping to advance to the regional semifinals for a 29th straight season en route to a potential 15th straight Final Four appearance and 12th national title.

The Huskies and the Bears have met nine times and this will be their third postseason encounter. UConn has won five of those games, but Baylor has won the last three.

But not in 2021.

UConn led 68-67 by 3.5 seconds when Baylor’s DiJonai Carrington swerved to the left and went up just off lane for a short jump. Edwards and Olivia Nelson-Ododa both challenged for the shot and both made contact. But no foul was called and the Huskies held on.

“If I remember this particular game correctly, there were a lot of fouls in that game,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. “Some were called, some were not. Whether that was a foul or not, I don’t know.”

Neither Bickel nor Edwards wanted to revisit the subject.

“My feelings from this game – we won it,” said Edwards. “So I think that’s really what I’m taking out of this game. You know, it’s 2023. Now we’re moving on to something better.”

In her four postseason games, the third-team All-American has averaged 21.5 points and 11.7 rebounds, with seven blocked shots.

“I think I’ve just grown basketball-wise and as a person, you know, I realized I just have to be competitive and be really dominant to my teammates and my coaches. It’s different for every game,” said Edwards. “It’s not just about counting numbers or anything like that.”

The Huskies face a Baylor team that rebounded from an early 18-point deficit on Saturday night to beat 10th-ranked Alabama 78-74.

UConn guard Nika Muhl said the Huskies were paying attention and weren’t planning to take their foot off the gas on Monday, especially after several teams were allowed to return from big deficits earlier this season.

“So just thinking about it and never giving in, not even in the fourth quarter or when we’re 20 doesn’t matter,” she said.

Collen hopes it doesn’t come to that.

“You can’t make UConn out with 10 points, let alone 18,” she said. “We know that. It’s not disrespectful to Alabama because I thought they were amazing. But this is UConn’s home court. You already feel like if you’re playing on someone else’s home court, you have to be 10 points better than them. “

She said so

Baylor resides in a hotel near Bradley International Airport, about 45 minutes from the rural UConn campus in eastern Connecticut.

“I think one of the most impressive things Geno did here was ever get anyone to come here, which sounds awful,” Collen said. “But if you know you have to fly to Hartford on an official visit, and then you have to make that drive. And I said (assistant coach Tony Greene), I said, ‘Well, you can put sunglasses in the limousine now and talk about the 13 (actually 11) championships.’ No one looks out the window at the forest anymore. I think what’s so impressive is starting here, why they got good.”

Source : www.washingtontimes.com

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