STORRS, Conn. -- Injuries forced UConn Coach Geno Auriemma to start three freshmen on Wednesday, and the young Huskies were happy to show their coach what the future holds.
Paige Bueckers scored a season-high 32 points, Aaliyah Edwards also set a season best with 22 and No. 3 Connecticut beat St. John's 94-62 as the schools renewed their Big East rivalry.
The Huskies played without guard Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian), who sat out with a left ankle injury, and sophomore Aubrey Griffin played just two minutes after banging her right knee in practice.
Bueckers hit 13 of 20 shots, including 5 of 6 from three-point range, and topped 20 points for the third consecutive game. She also dished out seven assists.
Edwards was 9 of 11 from the floor and pulled down nine rebounds for the Huskies (12-1, 10-0), who have played the required 13 games needed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
Nika Muhl added 11 points and six assists.
At one point in the third quarter UConn had five freshmen on the floor, adding Mir McLean (7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) and Saylor Poffenbarger, who joined the Huskies last month after graduating high school early.
"They looked like they knew what they were doing, and Paige looked like their ring leader," Auriemma said. "They seemed to have some fun out there and played some really, really good minutes."
St. John's Leilani Correa fell two points shy of her career high, putting up 33 to lead the Red Storm (5-10, 2-8).
"Obviously Christyn, her being a big scoring threat, having her out, I knew I had to step it up a little bit more," Bueckers said.
UConn opened the game on a 10-2 run, with six points from Edwards. The Huskies led 22-12 after 10 minutes, closing the first quarter on a 9-0 run.
St. John's shot 50% from the floor, including 52% in the first half, but trailed 44-24 at intermission.
"We need to play better defensively, that's the reason why we were down," St. John's Coach Joe Tartamella said. "We didn't defend, rebound or take one free throw."
Bueckers, who hit her first five shots from the floor, had 18 first-half points.
NO. 21 WEST VIRGINIA 65,
IOWA STATE 56
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. -- Kysre Gondrezick scored 10 of her 24 points in the fourth quarter to help No. 21 West Virginia pull away and beat Iowa State for its ninth consecutive win.
The Mountaineers built a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter. Iowa State pulled to within 62-56 with 2:20 remaining but missed its last four shots.
Gondrezick scored a career-high 30 points against TCU on Saturday and is the Big 12 Player of the Week. She made 3 three-pointers and was 8 of 15 from the floor against the Cyclones, and her layup and three-pointer stretched the Mountaineers' lead to 58-46 with 6:53 remaining. It was her 10th game this season scoring 20-plus points.
Madisen Smith had 15 points for West Virginia (14-2, 8-2 Big 12). Kari Niblack added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Ashley Joens scored 17 points with 3 three-pointers and had nine rebounds for Iowa State (11-7, 7-4). Aubrey Joens and Lexi Donarski added nine points apiece.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS 47,
NEW ORLEANS 46
Lucy Ibeh scored 18 points and Tori Lasker made a steal in the final seconds to preserve the University of Central Arkansas' victory over New Orleans on Wednesday night.
Central Arkansas (6-10, 4-4 Southland) won its third in a row.
Neither team scored in the game's final 4:53. New Orleans (4-9, 1-6) led 44-37 with 8:09 remaining but UCA, sparked by five points from Lasker, scored the next 10 points for a 47-44 advantage. New Orleans got within one after two free throws from Mary Delgado with 4:53 remaining. Lasker stole the ball from Delgado as time was running out to clinch the Sugar Bears' victory.
Lasker finished with nine points and three steals. Briana Trigg added eight p0ints. Ibeh also had a team-high eight rebounds.
Delgado led the Privateers with 16 points.
Central Arkansas was 15 of 46 (32.6%) from the floor and 16 of 24 (66.7%) from the free-throw line. New Orleans was 18 of 44 (40.9%) from the floor but only 2 of 9 in the fourth quarter. The Privateers were 9 of 15 (60%) from the free-throw line.
New Orleans shook off an 8-4 deficit after one quarter to lead 23-18 at the half. New Orleans led by as many as 16 (36-20) with 5:24 left in the third quarter.