Women’s College Basketball Roundup: No. 3 Connecticut rolls past St. John’s

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Injuries forced UConn coach Geno Auriemma to start three freshmen on Wednesday, and the young Huskies were happy to show their coach what the future holds.

Paige Bueckers scored a season-high 32 points, Aaliyah Edwards also set a season best with 22 and No. 3 Connecticut beat St. John’s 94-62 as the schools renewed their Big East rivalry

Bueckers hit 13 of 20 shots, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range, and topped 20 points for the third straight game. She also dished out seven assists.

Edwards was 9 of 11 from the floor and pulled down nine rebounds for the Huskies (12-1, 10-0), who have played the required 13 games needed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

Nika Muhl added 11 points and six assists.

At one point in the third quarter UConn had five freshmen on the floor, adding Mir McLean (seven points, four rebounds, three assists) and Saylor Poffenbarger, who joined the Huskies last month after graduating high school early.

“They looked like they knew what they were doing and Paige looked like their ring leader,” Auriemma said. “They seemed to have some fun out there and played some, really, really good minutes.”

St. John’s Leilani Correa fell two points shy of her career high, putting up 33 to lead the Red Storm (5-10, 2-8).

The Huskies played without guard Christyn Williams (16.8 points per game), who sat with a left ankle injury and sophomore Aubrey Griffin played just two minutes after banging her right knee in practice.

“Obviously Christyn, her being a big scoring threat, having her out, I knew I had to step it up a little big more,” Bueckers said.

UConn opened the game on a 10-2 run, with six points from Edwards, who got open early and often in the lane. The Huskies led 22-12 after 10 minutes, closing the first quarter on a 9-0 run.

St. John’s shot 50 percent from the floor, including 52 percent in the first half, but trailed 44-24 at intermission.

“We need to play better defensively, that’s the reason why we were down,” St. John’s coach Joe Tartamella said. “We didn’t defend, rebound or take one free throw.”

Bueckers, who hit her first five shots from the floor, had 18 first-half points.

No. 21 West Virginia 65, Iowa State 56

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Kysre Gondrezick scored 10 of her 24 points in the fourth quarter to help No. 21 West Virginia pull away and beat Iowa State 65-56 on Wednesday night for its ninth straight win.

The Mountaineers built a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter. Iowa State pulled to 62-56 with 2:20 remaining but missed it last four shots.

Madisen Smith had 15 points for West Virginia (14-2, 8-2 Big 12). Kari Niblack added 11 points and nine rebounds.

Ashley Joens scored 17 points with three 3-pointers and had nine rebounds for Iowa State (11-7, 7-4). Aubrey Joens and Lexi Donarski added nine points apiece.

Iowa State, which has lost three of its last four games, hosts Texas Tech on Saturday. West Virginia plays at Texas on Saturday. The Mountaineers routed the Longhorns 92-58 on Jan. 9.

By Paul Wager