Bueckers scores 34 as UConn No. 2 beats Arkansas 95-80

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Paige Bueckers scored a career-high 34 points, making 15 of his 19 field goal attempts and …

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Paige Bueckers scored a career-high 34 points, making 15 of his 19 field goal attempts, and No. 2 UConn opened his season with a 95-80 victory over Arkansas on Sunday.

Bueckers, the reigning AP Player of the Year, scored 32 points against St. Louis. John’s in his sensational freshman season. She made 10 of her 11 shots in the second half against the Razorbacks on a dazzling display of layups and mid-range jumpers to keep UConn’s lead double-digit.

Christyn Williams added 18 points and Evina Westbrook had 15 for the Huskies, who avenged the only loss in the regular season the team had last year when UConn fell to the then No. 19 Razorbacks 90-87 in Fayetteville.

UConn (1-0) drove out to a 17-2 lead behind Westbrook and Williams. Arkansas (2-1) missed eight of its first nine shots before finally getting offensively on a three-point game by Sasha Goforth that ended a 12-0 run by the Huskies. Arkansas reduced its deficit to 26-23 early in the second quarter before Bueckers broke loose.

Bueckers only took one shot in the first quarter, but scored 12 points in the second as UConn went up 49-39 at halftime.

UConn scored the first seven points of the third quarter to put the match away, including a 3-pointer by Aaliyah Edwards, the first of her career.

Amber Ramirez scored 20 points and Goforth added 17 to lead Arkansas.

DEBUT HER

Azzi Fudd, who was the No. 1 recruit who came out of high school last year, had seven in his first fight for the Huskies. She made her first basket and scored on a fastbreak with 6:40 left in the second quarter.

TIP-INS

UConn was missing Aubrey Griffin (high ankle) and Saylor Poffenbarger (shin splints). … New Huskies football coach Jim Mora was present and spoke to the audience at the first media timeout of the second quarter. … This was UConn’s first game at the XL Center in 622 days. The team played all of its home games on campus last season without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

BIG PICTURE

Arkansas: Razorbacks rebuild after losing Chelsea Dungee and Destiny Slocum to WNBA.

UConn: The Huskies will face early tests with a trip to the Bahamas, where they can play No. 1 against South Carolina in the final of the tournament.

NEXT

Arkansas: The Razorbacks are free until Friday when they visit rival Arkansas State.

UConn: The Huskies are heading to the Bahamas to play in Battle 4 Atlantis next weekend. UConn is set to face Minnesota on Saturday in the opening round.

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More AP Women’s College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https: // twitter.com/AP_Top25

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