This Saturday, Jan. 23, the 9-0 UConn Huskies hosted the 1-4 Georgetown Hoyas at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion looking to keep their season-opening win streak alive. And even with freshman Nika Muhl making her first college start in place of the injured star Paige Bueckers, UConn earned the victory in dominant fashion. The Huskies won by a final score of 72-41 to improve to 10-0 on the season.
The first half was all about defense for UConn. The Huskies doubled up the ball-carrier at half court, forcing them into a difficult pass, a highly effective strategy. The Hoyas were unable to adjust, and as a result they turned the ball over 13 times in the first half while scoring only 11 points, with only 2 coming in the second quarter. UConn guard Christyn Williams herself scored 11 points in the first half to give the Huskies 39-11 lead before the break.
The second half was much sloppier for UConn. The third quarter began with both teams scoring 12 quick points before head coach Geno Auriemma called a timeout to settle his team down. Following the timeout, Olivia Nelson-Ododa took over, dominating the paint with 11 straight points. She finished the game with 19 total points while Christyn Williams (17), Aubrey Griffin (15) and Evina Westbrook (13) all finished in double-digits as well. UConn won by a final score of 72-41.
Though the final score would suggest a somewhat dominant victory, Auriemma was not pleased with his team’s offensive game, though he was complimentary of the defense. “Overall it was a horrendous basketball game to watch. It was very difficult to watch. The choppiness of it and the lack of flow. Nothing seemed like it came easy,” he said. “But I thought our defense did a decent job for the most part.”
What Auriemma liked the most about UConn’s performance was that the team, in particular the upper-classmen like Westbrook and Williams, came together in the absence of Paige Bueckers. He said, “It’s difficult when you’re missing someone who’s such an integral part of your offense and I thought they handled it pretty well.”
UConn’s next game will be on the road against the No. 15 ranked Arkansas on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Auriemma says he expected Bueckers to be back in the lineup by then.