No. 1 UConn outduels No. 5 Iowa in battle of freshmen phenoms to advance to women’s Elite 8

Connecticut is back in the Elite 8 for its 15th consecutive appearance after rolling past Iowa Saturday, 92-72, in the 2021 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. 

UConn's Paige Bueckers, a front-runner for national player of the year as a freshman, and Iowa's Cailtin Clark, the NCAA Division I scoring leader, were poised to steal the show in this highly anticipated Sweet 16 tip-off, but beating the No. 5-seeded Hawkeyes was a complete team effort by the Huskies. 

UConn guard Christyn Willams, a former No. 1 recruit, led the team with 27 points, guard Evina Westbrook was just one rebound shy of a triple-double and freshman forward Aaliyah Edwards shined early and ended with 18 points.

Connecticut's players Paige Bueckers (5) , Christyn Williams (13) and Olivia Nelson-Ododa (20) celebrate after beating Iowa in the Sweet 16. (Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)

Clark, Iowa's freshman phenom, led the team with 21 points, 5 assists and three rebounds, while McKenna Warnock racked up 20 points. But consecutive 3-pointers from Bueckers and UConn's fourth-quater run allowed the Huskies to pull away.

This victory was coach Geno Auriemma's first game on the sidelines in the NCAA Tournament after missing the first two rounds after testing positive for COVID-19 on March 14. 

UConn will play the winner of Michigan-Baylor on Monday.

Contact Analis Bailey at [email protected] or on Twitter @analisbailey.

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