Paige Bueckers’ 28-point effort leads UConn in first-round March Madness win

STORRS, Conn. — Paige Bueckers scored 28 points and freshman Ashlynn Shade added 26 as No. 3 seed UConn celebrated coach Geno Auriemma’s 70th birthday with an 86-64 win over Jackson State in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Saturday.

Aaliyah Edwards, wearing a mask after missing two games with a broken nose, had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Huskies (30-5), who won in the opening round of the tournament for a 30th straight time.

Ti’Ian Boler scored 25 points and Angel Jackson had 13 for 14th seeded Jackson State (26-7), which lost for the first time in 22 games.

Paige Bueckers scored 28 points for UConn in the win. Getty Images

Paige Bueckers drives to the basket during the UConn win. Getty Images

The Tigers’ Miya Crump opened the game with a jumper and Jackson State led briefly at 4-2.

But Bueckers sparked a 17-0 Husky run by scoring eight of UConn’s first 10 points.

She gave Connecticut its first lead at 5-4 on an up-and-under layup and foul shot.

UConn led 22-8 after 10 minutes, and took its first 20-point lead at 39-19 on a 3-pointer from Bueckers, who also pulled down 11 rebounds and had seven assists in the game.

Nika Muhl of the Connecticut Huskies reacts against the Jackson State Tigers during the first half of a first round NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament game at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion Getty Images

UConn Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma talks with guard Nika Muhl (10) from the sideline as they take on the Jackson State Lady Tigers at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Boler’s 3-pointer from the right corner at the buzzer sent the teams into the half with UConn leading 49-28.

A 3-pointer from Nika Muhl as the third quarter expired put the Huskies up 72-50 and Connecticut cruised from there.

The Huskies improved to 13-1 in games played on their coach’s birthday.

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