The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team’s streak is over.
For nine years, the team had won every game they played against unranked opponents. Their last defeat by one was 240 games ago; they lost, in 2012, to St. John’s.
All of the injuries suffered by the UConn women’s team are proving to have detrimental effects on the team’s performance. Never has this been more clear than on Thursday night, when the team faced off against Georgia Tech in their first game of two this week.
Recently, the team lost three players to injuries: Paige Bueckers, Azzi Fudd and Nika Muhl. The loss of Bueckers, last year’s player of the year and the team’s star so far this season, is especially harsh when you consider that she’s going to be out for six to eight weeks with a tibial plateau fracture. Additionally, a fourth player, Aubrey Griffin, has been battling injuries most of the season.
The depleted roster went down to play Georgia Tech, who had started their season 6-2 with losses to Auburn and Purdue. This was a team the Huskies were supposed to beat; Georgia Tech is unranked, while even after struggling in some games this season the Huskies were third.
They didn’t. They lost a bloody game that went from a halftime tie to a thirteen point loss by the Huskies, their second of the season. It was a somber sign for a team already struggling with so many injuries, a loss to a team the Huskies should’ve been favored to beat pretty solidly.
UConn struggled massively in the fourth quarter, with just five points scored to six turnovers. Christyn Williams, who played the entire game, had 13 points while her teammate Aaliyah Edwards had zero despite playing more than 20 minutes. The shooting just wasn’t there for the Huskies throughout the contest.
On the other side of the court, Georgia Tech’s Lotta-Maj Lahtinen led the charge with 15 points and 38 minutes played. She was a large part of the force that outshot the Huskies throughout the game, which scored more points than the Huskies in two quarters and tied in another.
This is a tipping point for the Huskies. If they continue on this trend, dropping games to lower tier opposition in this way, the season will be lost before Paige Bueckers’ knee is healed. Their next test is this coming weekend when they’ll play UCLA, a game that promises to show a lot about what this team can do with three of its best players down for at least two weeks.
If the Huskies turn this season around, this game will be an unfortunate blip; a record-losing loss, yes, but just a loss. But if they don’t, if this is what Huskies fans have to look forward to for the rest of the season, this may just be the beginning of the end.