Women’s Basketball: No. 4 Huskies close out XL for season against St. John’s 

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. Photo by Erin Knapp/Daily Campus.

Not too many people expected the No. 6 UConn Huskies to beat both Creighton and No. 14 Villanova this past week. It was among their most difficult weeks this year–and they’re still playing shorthanded without star Azzi Fudd. Regardless of how tired they are and how much either opponent wanted it, the Huskies pulled out a pair of victories, nearly clinching their spot as the Big East’s top team.  

Now, ahead of their final three games, the schedule softens up for the Huskies, making it fairly easy for them to win out. They close out with a pair of games against DePaul and Xavier, two teams firmly out of the tournament picture, but first they’ll have to get past St. John’s. ESPN has the Johnnies as a first four team out and their NET is No. 57.  

They started off red hot winning their first 13 games, but Big East play has really taken its toll on them. Since then, they’ve gone 6-7, but their losses have been characteristic of their preseason expectations. They were picked seventh in conference and they’re now in fifth. The Red Storm are perfect against the bottom four in conference and have decent wins. They split with Marquette and Creighton, a pair of teams that are primed for March Madness at this point.  

Jayla Everett has been the key to St. John’s success, as she’s having a career year in her fifth collegiate season. It’s her first year in Queens, NY and she’s lit it up with 16 points a game to go along with three rebounds and three assists. She’s had a couple of exemplary performances, but the best was against DePaul last week when she scored 26 points and added four dimes en route to the victory. She also shoots better than 40% from three, something to watch out for.  

Kadaja Bailey is another player to keep an eye out for, a fellow grad-student, although she spent all five years as a Johnny. The Long Beach, NY native has seen a slight dip in production, perhaps due to Everett’s emergence, but she’s still been great. Bailey’s averaging 13 points, four boards and three dimes, a well- rounded player. She had a nice performance against the Huskies the first time they met, so it’ll be interesting to see how she follows it up. 

For UConn, this will be an important game not to look past. They’re certainly tired and fatigued after playing so many games with just six players, but a loss here would have a negative impact on their momentum. With the wins over Creighton and Marquette, St. John’s has proven that they’re more than capable. There’s very little opportunity for failure in the season, but if it were to emerge, this is the game.  

The biggest player to watch will be Caroline Ducharme. She got banged up at the end of the win at Villanova, but she managed to return after being visibly shaken up. Ducharme was great in the Creighton game, scoring all 10 of her points in the fourth quarter comeback effort and she notched six against the Wildcats. She wasn’t terribly efficient in either win, shooting 33%, but she’s understandably still regaining her rhythm.  

This will also be a good opportunity for Aaliyah Edwards to have a bounceback performance after she was inefficient against the Wildcats, shooting 5-16. Her eventual statline was fine, but a lot of that was because she was grabbing a lot of her own close misses.  

The game will tip at 7 p.m. and can be viewed on SNY, their last locally streamed game of the year.  

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