Coming into Walsh Gymnasium against a top-50 NET team, it’s hard to win big, no matter who you are. It becomes even tougher when you enter the game with the NCAA-minimum number of players, having just seven available. This was the same UConn lineup that came into the XL Center two days ago against lowly Georgetown and sleep-walked through a 15-point win. Instead of trudging through in a dangerous situation, the No. 5 Huskies ran Seton Hall out of their own gym, leaving nothing to chance in the 103-58 victory.
Aaliyah Edwards was absolutely stellar in the effort, hitting on all cylinders and impacting the game in every thinkable way. She finished with 21 points, 11 boards, four assists, three steals and two blocks, completely stuffing the stat sheet. After last season, the idea of Edwards having this much of an impact seemed unthinkable, but she has really impressed everyone this year. She’s posted career highs in most major categories, nearly doubling her scoring and rebounding. This performance is yet another indication of her success, as she is a major x-factor towards the Huskies’ ultimate success this year.
Another player who shined was Dorka Juhasz, who took this game as an opportunity to improve her three-point percentage with some target practice. She seemed to be open all game, going 4-5 from deep on her way to a 22 point and 11 rebound effort. This stat line shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone who’s watched Juhasz play this year, as she’s averaging a double-double.
Nika Mühl continued to dish out dimes at an astonishing pace, adding 13 to her NCAA-leading total. She also contributed four points and six boards, continuing to be the invaluable “glue guy” that the Huskies need to win. Mühl controls the game without any concern for her own totals, just racking up assists and seeing her success through that of her teammates.
The Pirates started out with a lot of energy, only down by one early, 8-7. Connecticut’s brief defensive troubles were remedied in the next five minutes, as their offense stayed intact. This effort, largely by Edwards, led to a resounding 17-2 run that put the Huskies ahead by 16. The hustle didn’t stop from there, with UConn further boosting their lead, thanks to a slew of blocks and steals, along with subsequent finishes on the other end.
The rest of the half didn’t see the Pirates make much of a dent in the deficit they faced, as their best player, Lauren Park-Lane went out with her third foul. A late flurry of points helped the Huskies to a 50-22 points going into the break, a surprisingly large margin against a strong opponent.
The second half didn’t start off any better for Seton Hall, giving up a 13-2 run early in the quarter. They seemed to have no answer for Connecticut’s defense, as they continually gave the ball away and allowed points on the other end. What made it worse was their tendency to foul, putting them in an even more compromising position.
The Huskies were out to a 40 point lead in the middle of the third quarter and the game was all but over. An unnecessary 13 minutes of remaining basketball were played, ultimately crowning UConn as 45-point victors. It was arguably UConn’s best effort of the season, as they took care of business from wire to wire against a quality opponent–shorthanded.
Connecticut will get a three-day break until they have to play again, this time against Butler in a game that shouldn’t be in doubt–so long as the Huskies make it to Gampel Pavilion with enough available players…