Women’s Basketball: No. 3 Huskies face weekend set against Providence and No. 7 Notre Dame 

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UConn women’s basketball defeats No. 3 Texas 83-76 at Gampel Pavilion on a chilly Monday night in Storrs, Conn, on Nov. 14, 2022. Preceding the matchup was the retirement of UConn women’s basketball legend Swin Cash’s number, No. 32. Cash won two national titles with the Huskies, and was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame a part of the 2022 class. Photo by Sofia Sawchuk/Daily Campus.

This weekend, the No. 3 UConn Huskies face another series of obstacles against the Providence Friars and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Huskies have been on an absolute tear this year, proving themselves as one of the top teams in the country.  

UConn started out with an easy 49-point win over Northeastern and then very quickly jumped into their first big challenge of the year. Against then-No. 3 Texas, they protected their home-turf, winning in commanding fashion thanks to Azzi Fudd’s 22-point second half. During the next week of practice however, they lost fifth-year center Dorka Juhász to a broken thumb that still has her out indefinitely.  

Despite this loss, UConn pulled together in a resounding 22-point victory over then-No. 10 NC State, vaulting the Huskies into the top three. During this impressive stretch, sophomore guard Caroline Ducharme was playing. She wasn’t playing to her fullest, as she is recovering from a neck injury that plagued the later portion of her preseason.  

The Huskies then went to the Phil Knight Invitational, where they handed Duke its first loss by 28 points, which then pitted them against No. 9 Iowa. The Huskies played a poor first half and looked tested by the red-hot Hawkeyes, but Fudd exploded for another 22-point second half and Ducharme looked her best this year in a 15-point effort. There were many times where the game could have gotten away from them, but they posted multiple 10-0 runs to eke out a narrow win.  

Now, the Huskies return to campus to host the Friars (6-2), who are having a solid year of their own. HerHoopStats lists them as the No. 142 team in the country, which seems fair. They’ve played a number of easy games against low-majors, winning all of them. They also tested themselves against Boston College and Rhode Island, two teams on the NCAA tournament bubble. They lost both by single digits on the road.  

Providence’s best player is Janai Crooms, a senior who gave the Huskies fits the first time they played last year. She scored 27 points in that game and made it a lot closer than it could have been in one of the low points of UConn’s season. Crooms leads the Friars in points and assists and she should be the driving force behind their attack. Seeing how the Huskies have performed against top 10 teams, this game shouldn’t be close, but it’s Sunday’s game that is much more worrying. 

UConn women’s basketball defeats No. 3 Texas 83-76 at Gampel Pavilion on a chilly Monday night in Storrs, Conn, on Nov. 14, 2022. Preceding the matchup was the retirement of UConn women’s basketball legend Swin Cash’s number, No. 32. Cash won two national titles with the Huskies, and was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame a part of the 2022 class. Photo by Sofia Sawchuk/Daily Campus.

UConn will make the Saturday trip to South Bend for its first road test against Notre Dame. The Irish are a great team, but they have yet to be tested. In their six wins, they’ve played no team better than No. 92, according to HerHoopStats. The Irish beat California-Berkeley by just 11 points, a squad ranked outside the top 100. Their game against No. 20 Maryland last night should provide a good sense of how strong Notre Dame really is. 

Notre Dame’s two best players are both sophomores and returnees from last year’s Sweet 16 team. The first is Olivia Miles, who reliably stuffs the stat sheet every night. She averages 16 points, eight boards and seven assists, doing much of the team’s dirty work. Her partner in crime is Sonia Citron, who scores 15 points a game and grabs eight rebounds on average.  

It will be hard to contain Miles, but the Huskies’ best bet to do so is Nika Mühl, who does just about everything but score. Mühl averages upwards of 10 assists and three steals per game. She is constantly tasked to guard the opposing team’s best weapon, and she will need to do just that against Miles.  

The Providence game can be watched on SNY at 7 p.m. Friday and the Notre Dame contest will be on ABC at 3 p.m. 

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