STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Eighth-ranked UConn bounced back from one of its worst defensive performances in years by locking down No. 20 Maryland on Thursday night and routing the Terrapins.
Paige Bueckers had 24 points and six steals in the 80-48 victory, four days after a 92-81 loss to North Carolina State.
“Just as a collective unit, we never want to show an effort again like that (against NC State) on the defensive end,” Bueckers said. “It started with us older guys and then the younger guys brought it — the intensity on defense.”
Aaliyah Edwards and freshman KK Arnold each scored 12 points for the Huskies (2-1). Another freshman, Ashlynn Shade, added 10 points and Aubrey Griffin had nine points and 13 rebounds.
Shyanne Sellers scored 16 points and Jakia Brown-Turner added 13 points for Maryland (1-2). The Huskies held the Terps to just 15 field goals (26% shooting) and forced 27 turnovers, leading to 29 UConn points.
The Terps have now lost two straight after falling to top-ranked South Carolina on Sunday.
“Obviously, this team is still a work in progress,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “Our starters have played three games together in their career.”
The Terps held UConn without a field goal for more than 3 1/2 minutes in the second quarter and led by as many as five points.
But Bueckers had 15 first-half points to lead UConn back. Her steal, layup and free throw left Sellers with her third foul and gave UConn a 32-25 lead. It was the highlight of a 20-4 run to close the second quarter and the Huskies led 42-27 after 20 minutes.
UConn took its first 20-point lead at 52-31 on a steal by Bueckers and layup by Griffin and were not seriously challenged after that.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma said Bueckers “became that lightning rod that started the whole thing.”
Auriemma said Fudd felt something coming down after a shot in practice on Tuesday. He said the team will know more after the swelling goes down and she has an MRI and other tests.
“There’s always something that we have to deal with,” Auriemma said. “Sometimes it’s minor. This one might be minor. Sometimes it’s minor. Sometimes it’s major.”
Maryland: The loss could drop Maryland out of the Top 25 for the first time after being in 251 straight polls, dating to the start of the 2010-11 season. That streak is second behind Connecticut’s record of 566 weeks. Maryland has six more games on the schedule against ranked opponents, beginning next Thursday against Washington State.
UConn: The Huskies’ schedule also does not get any easier. UConn has games in the next month against No. 3 UCLA, No. 11 Texas, No. 17 North Carolina and No. 19 Louisville.
Maryland outrebounded UConn 36-35, but the Huskies outscored the Terps 46-18 in the paint. UConn had nine blocked shots to just one for Maryland.
Maryland: The Terrapins host Syracuse on Sunday.
UConn: The Huskies visit Minnesota on Sunday in a homecoming game for Paige Bueckers, who is from Hopkins, Minnesota,