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Westbrook clutch; Williams scores 20

by The Associated Press | January 22, 2021 at 2:26 a.m.
Arkansas native Christyn Williams (13) puts up a shot for Connecticut during the No. 3 Huskies’ 67-61 victory over No. 25 Tennessee on Thursday. Williams led UConn with 20 points. (AP/Saul Young)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- It couldn't have been a better script for Evina Westbrook's return to Rocky Top.

UConn's redshirt junior guard, who transferred from Tennessee two years ago, connected on back to back fourth-quarter three-pointers to spark the No. 3 Huskies (9-0) to a 67-61 victory over the No. 25 Lady Volunteers (9-3) Thursday night.

Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian) led UConn with 20 points. Westbrook added 15 and Aubrey Griffin scored 10.

Westbrook's two three-pointers early in the fourth quarter turned a tie game into a UConn lead that got as large as nine points. The Huskies never surrendered the advantage.

"I pulled Evina aside during the shoot-around [early in the day]," said Huskies Coach Geno Auriemma. "I told her there's a difference between playing with a lot of emotion and not letting emotion get in the way.

"Those shots that she made were pretty important."

"I leaned on my teammates in this game," Westbrook said. "I didn't listen to the boos or the fans yelling 'traitor.' I knew they had my back. I just played like myself. I was more anxious than anything else. After it was over, the first thing out of my mouth was how glad I am it was over."

UConn freshman Paige Bueckers added 9 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists for the Huskies (9-0). After rolling her right ankle with just over 3 minutes left, Bueckers left the court for a minute to get her ankle taped up. She returned and hit a huge three-pointer from the wing with 28 seconds left that gave the Huskies a 66-61 lead and sealed the win.

In other Top 25 women's games Thursday, Dana Evans scored 21 points, Hailey Van Lith added 18 on six three-pointers, and top-ranked Louisville (13-0, 6-0 ACC) used several small second-half runs to pull away from No. 23 Syracuse (7-2, 4-2) for a 67-54 victory in Louisville, Ky. ... Aliyah Boston had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks to lead No. 4 South Carolina (11-1, 6-0) to its 25th consecutive win over SEC competition with a 62-50 victory over No. 22 Georgia (12-2, 4-2) in Columbia, S.C. ... Jacy Sheldon scored 20 points, including a three-pointer and two free throws in the final 48 seconds, and No. 17 Ohio State beat No. 11 Michigan 81-77 in Columbus, Ohio. ... Blair Green scored 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting and No. 12 Kentucky (11-3, 4-2) held off Auburn (5-8, 0-5) 76-71 in Auburn, Ala. ... Lexi Held scored 17 points, Deja Church had 13 points and 12 rebounds as No. 18 DePaul (9-3, 6-1 Big East) used strong finishes each quarter to roll to an 80-66 victory over Butler (1-10, 1-9) in Indianapolis. ... Lindsey Pulliam scored 19 of her season-high 28 points in the third quarter and grabbed six rebounds to help No. 21 Northwestern (8-2, 6-2 Big Ten) beat Illinois (2-7, 0-6) 73-54 in Evanston, Illi.

In men's Top 25 action Thursday, Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 23 points despite second-half foul trouble and Indiana (9-6, 4-4) shut down No. 4 Iowa (12-3, 6-2 Big Ten) in an 81-69 comeback victory. ... Cody Riley scored 13 points, Jules Bernard made a clutch three-pointer with two minutes remaining and No. 24 UCLA (12-2, 8-0 Pac-12) shook off a mistake-filled night to beat California (7-9, 2-7) 61-57 in Berkeley, Calif.

Georgia center Maori Davenport drives to the basket against South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Georgia center Maori Davenport drives to the basket against South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
South Carolina guard Zia Cooke (1) dribbles against Georgia guard Que Morrison (23) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
South Carolina guard Zia Cooke (1) dribbles against Georgia guard Que Morrison (23) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston attempts a shot against Georgia guard Que Morrison (23) and Jenna Staiti (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston attempts a shot against Georgia guard Que Morrison (23) and Jenna Staiti (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
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