UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Even though it was a banner year for the Big East Conference in women’s basketball once again, its bellwether program had, for their sky-high standards, a down season. Over the next few days, will the UConn Huskies completely return to form? Or can one of the many surprise packages in the league possibly take home the title from the Huskies’ home turf?
The start of the 2022 Big East Women’s Basketball Tournament will help to, among other things, determine the Huskies’ opponent in the quarterfinals, which will be the No. 9 seed Georgetown Hoyas after their impressive 68-55 victory over the eighth-seeded Providence Friars in the opening game of the tournament. Heading into halftime with a slim 26-25 advantage, the Hoyas opened the second half of a 22-0 run to put the game to bed. Graceann Bennett, who scored 13 points off the bench for the Hoyas, scored eight of those points during the game-deciding run, while Brianna Scott made two three-pointers in that same span.
In the second game, the seventh-seeded St. John’s Red Storm had to come back from an eight-pint fourth-quarter deficit to knock off No. 10 Xavier 76-69. After a Courtney Preger layup gave the Musketeers a 61-55 lead with 7:38 remaining, the Red Storm then hold Xavier scoreless for the next 4:49, allowing St. John’s enough time for its offense to finally awaken. Kadaja Bailey led all Red Storm scorers with 17 points, including seven in the final frame, while Rayven Peeples had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The final game saw No. 6 Seton Hall have an easy time of it in its 58-39 victory over the eleventh-seeded Bulldogs from Butler University. Lauren Park-Lane led the Pirates with 21 points as Seton Hall help the Bulldogs to 33 percent shooting while forcing 20 Butler turnovers.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday’s first-round games, with all photos taken by ALOST senior photographer Robert Cole. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 34 pictures in total.