Kingston’s Aaliyah Edwards did her part on the defensive side of the basketball on Monday night for the University of Connecticut Huskies to help preserve a nail-biting 69-67 NCAA women’s basketball tournament quarter-final win over the Baylor Lady Bears at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
With three seconds remaining and the score 68-67 for the Huskies, Baylor’s DiJonai Carrington went up for a two-point shot in the paint just left of the basket that could have won the game for the Lady Bears. However, Edwards and teammate Olivia Nelson-Ododa blocked Carrington, making her miss the shot.
Baylor players and coaches called for a foul on either of the Huskies. No call was made.
NBA star Lebron James even tweeted about the play. “Cmon man!!! That was a FOUL!!”
Carrington netted 22 points in the game for Baylor and was 7-for-10 from the free-throw line. Had she made both free throws, the Huskies would have lost and been knocked out of the tournament.
With a minute left in the game, and UConn holding a slim 65-63 lead, the six-foot-three freshman Edwards also made her presence known, blocking a Baylor shot and then quickly passing up to Christyn Williams, who scored to give the Huskies a temporary four-point lead.
Edwards started the game but left during the second quarter after getting into some foul trouble. She returned in the third quarter.
Overall, she scored four points, recorded three offensive and four defensive rebounds, three blocks and had four personal fouls.
Edwards also made a solid defensive play in the first quarter, stealing the ball at centre court from a Baylor player, and passing to fellow freshman Paige Bueckers, who scored a three-pointer to put UConn up early, 12-4. Bueckers led all scorers in the game with 28 points.
It was the Huskies’ tightest win so far in the tournament, and at one point in the second half, they were down by 10 points. A 19-0 run took care of that deficit, though.
The Huskies move on to play in the semifinals of the tournament against the Arizona Wildcats on Friday. The time has yet to be confirmed.
Stanford was to play Louisville and South Carolina met Texas on Tuesday to confirm the other two final four participants.