Aaliyah Edwards scored 23 points and Paige Bueckers made her long-awaited return from injury as No. 2 UConn opened its season Wednesday with a 102-58 rout of Dayton.
It was Bueckers’ first game since the Huskies’ loss to South Carolina in the 2022 National Championship, a span of 584 days. The former National Player of the Year missed all of last year and much of her sophomore season with two separate knee injuries.
She scored eight points in 21 minutes Wednesday while on a coach-imposed minutes restriction. She also had seven rebounds, four assists and a steal.
Azzi Fudd had 13 points for UConn. Aubrey Griffin added 12, Qadence Samuels scored 11 and Nika Muhl and Caroline Ducharme each added 10.
Ivy Wolf had 16 points to lead Dayton. The Flyers are coached by former UConn star Tamika Williams-Jeter, who won two national titles playing for the Huskies in 2000 and 2002
Bueckers got her first bucket of the season on a driving layup that made it 6-3, part of an opening 16-5 run.
A steal and layup by freshman KK Arnold gave the Huskies their first 20-point lead at 37-17. Edwards had 13 points in the first 20 minutes and the Huskies led 59-31 at halftime.
The Huskies dominated underneath, outrebounding Dayton 49-33 and outscoring the Flyers 44-20 in the paint.
The Huskies bench outscored Dayton’s 38-17.
Freshmen Samuels, Arnold (eight points), Ashlynn Shade (4 points) and redshirt freshman Ice Brady (3 points) all made their college debuts for the Huskies.
The Flyers gave up just over 70 points per game to opponents last season and were picked to finish ninth in the Atlantic 10’s preseason poll, two spots above last season’s 11th-place finish.
The Huskies have a chance to move up to the top spot in the AP poll next week, with top-ranked LSU falling to No. 20 Colorado on Monday. The Huskies were last ranked No. 1 in March 2021.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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