Women’s Basketball: No. 4 Huskies travel to Milwaukee to face Marquette

2/5/23 WBB vs USC by Erin Knapp. The UConn Women’s basketball team takes on South Carolina at the Hartford XL Center on Sunday, Feb. 5. Despite leading in the first quarter and tying in the second, UConn was defeated 81-77 by South Carolina. This is the first time the two teams have played against each other since the final game of March Madness in 2022, when South Carolina beat UConn.

It’s been a long few weeks for the No. 4 UConn women’s basketball team, playing six games in the last 15 days. This has taken quite the toll on the Huskies as of late, as they’ve looked exhausted in every contest they’ve played. The most recent demonstration of this came against No. 1 South Carolina in a game where they made it close, but weren’t able to overcome their fatigue. It was a good attempt, especially with six players, and one of the closest anyone has come to the Gamecocks: a positive sign for their potential as they get healthier. 

This time they’ll visit the Al McGuire Center to take on the Marquette Golden Eagles. They’re no South Carolina, but they’ll still pose something of a threat. They were ranked at one point this season and their NET position is currently No. 45 in the country. They had a Cinderella run in the Battle 4 Atlantis, playing three ranked opponents. They beat No. 24 Texas and No. 17 Gonzaga, but lost to No. 14 UCLA in overtime. Since then, the Golden Eagles have hit a wall in the Big East. Coach Megan Duffy’s squad has been mediocre, only 8-6 in conference. They haven’t beaten any of the top four teams in the conference and were blown out in several in those games. 

Jordan King leads the Golden Eagles’ attack as a dangerous dual-threat point guard. She paces the team in scoring and assists, also shooting better than 40% from deep. The Huskies had her number in their last matchup though, holding the Illinois-native to four points and no dimes. It was King’s worst effort of the year by a mile as the only time she scored in single digits in a defeat. 

Connecticut will try to replicate their masterful defensive performance, not only limiting King, but also the entire Marquette team that day. The Huskies held the Golden Eagles to just 48 points, 18 below their season average. There was no major category that matched a Marquette season average: a testament to the Huskies’ stellar defense in the top 20% in the country in opponents points per game. 

That contest was also played with just seven from the Huskies, the same number that they’ve been running recently (two of those seven logged fewer than 10 minutes). After a month of playing on edge, they’re a lot more fatigued, but their success against their competition with so few players is encouraging for their chances Wednesday. 

Coach Geno Auriemma was hopeful that Caroline Ducharme could return against Marquette, but given that she was still wearing earplugs to minimize the effect of the arena noise Sunday, it’s hard to imagine her suiting up. If she does, she’ll take a lot of the pressure off of Lou Lopez-Sénéchal, who has been tasked with the vast majority of the shot-making duties. It is hard to know how she’ll look flow-wise, having been in and out so much this season, but just having her back will be great for the Huskies’ depth and morale. 

The player to watch from Connecticut is Aaliyah Edwards. The forward was fantastic against the Gamecocks despite dealing with foul trouble, finishing with 25 points. Her offense is only getting better, and it’s hard to imagine Marquette putting up much resistance. Of their 10 players clocking more than six minutes per game, none are taller than 6-foot-2. With no player tall enough to effectively guard Edwards, she’ll have a field day. Don’t be surprised if she posts another double-double against an opponent worse than South Carolina. 

The game will tip off at 8 p.m. EST at the Al McGuire Center and can be viewed on SNY. 

Leave a Reply