HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Aaliyah Edwards scored 23 points and Paige Bueckers made her long-awaited return from injury as No. 2 UConn opened its season with a 102-58 win over Dayton on Wednesday.
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 due to two knee injuries.
She scored eight points in 21 minutes Wednesday while on a coach-imposed minute restriction. She also had seven rebounds, four assists and one steal.
Azzi Fudd had 13 points for UConn. Aubrey Griffin added 12, Qadence Samuels scored 11 and Nika Muhl and Caroline Ducharme added 10 each.
Ivy Wolf had 16 points to lead Dayton. The Flyers are coached by former UConn star Tamika Williams-Jeter, who won two national titles for the Huskies in 2000 and 2002
Bueckers scored her first basket of the season with a layup that made it 6-3, part of an initial 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, outscoring Dayton 49-33 and outscoring the Flyers 44-20 in the game.
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 collegiate debuts for the Huskies.
Dayton: The Flyers gave up just over 70 points per game to their opponents last season and were picked to finish ninth in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll, two spots above last season’s 11th place finish.
UConn: The Huskies have a chance to move to the top of next week’s AP Poll, with top-ranked LSU falling to No. 20 Colorado on Monday. The Huskies were last ranked No. 1 in March 2021.