Women’s Basketball: No. 4 Huskies wrap up road slate hoping to bounce back against DePaul 

The UConn women’s basketball team suffered their fifth loss of the season against St. John’s at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. on Feb. 21, 2023. The Huskies were not able to fully recover from the six-point deficit in the first quarter. Photo by Skyler Kim/The Daily Campus

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the No. 4 UConn women’s basketball team lost their second conference game of the season against the St. John’s Red Storm. UConn had a chance to complete another comeback in the final minutes of regulation, but ran out of fuel as the Red Storm added a signature win to their March Madness resume. The Huskies look to avoid losing a third conference game for the first time since 2012 as they travel to Wintrust Arena to take on the DePaul Blue Demons. 

When these two teams last met, UConn blew out the Blue Demons 94-51 in a rescheduled contest at Gampel Pavilion as Ayanna Patterson returned from concussion protocol. That marked the last time UConn scored more than 90 points and won by more than 20. The Huskies’ offense has sputtered over the past month, scoring less than 70 points in five straight contests and seven out of their last eight. 

Lou Lopez Sénéchal has been the offensive catalyst all season long, leading UConn in scoring in each of their past two games. With 40 points in her last two games, Lopez Sénéchal is averaging 16.4 points at a 45.4% clip from downtown, good for sixth in the nation. Lopez Sénéchal has scored in double figures all but twice this season but will look to exceed the 20 points she had in the two teams’ first meeting. 

While she leads the Huskies in scoring throughout the entire regular season when playing more than 75% of the team’s games, Dorka Juhász has been the go-to scorer in conference play. All but one of Juhász’ double-doubles this season are against conference foes, and she averages one with 14.4 points and 10.1 boards. With 31 blocks and a 27.7% clip from long range, expect the graduate student to affect the game in more ways than one. 

Juhász cannot defend everyone in the paint, which is where Aaliyah Edwards comes into the mix. Edwards has reached double figures all but twice since the middle of January with at least one steal in all but one game and five double-doubles. With 16.2 PPG at a 57.1% clip and 9.0 RPG, Edwards is just as efficient offensively as she is defensively, and there is no perfect way to stop her when she has 28 blocks and 32 steals. 

Nika Mühl scored 13 points with three triples in Tuesday’s loss, but it is part of a positive trend with regards to her offensive game. Since getting shut out in the first meeting against DePaul, Mühl has scored in double figures four times this month while playing close to every minute. Combined with her 221 assists and 38 steals, Mühl is making it harder for opponents to stop her anywhere on the court. 

The Huskies prepare to face DePaul in Chicago, Ill. on Feb. 25. This will be an anticipated battle of two top scoring teams in the conference. Photo by Skyler Kim/The Daily Campus

The Blue Demons (15-14, 8-10 Big East) are coming off one of their better games in conference play as they lost by just three points at the Finneran Pavilion against Maddy Siegrist and the No. 15 Villanova Wildcats. DePaul can finish no better than sixth in the Big East, which means that they will have to play on the first day of the conference tournament. Although they are expected to not qualify for March Madness and are 1-8 against Quad 1 opponents, the Blue Demons should not be counted out as they are ranked No. 63 in the NET with a neutral-site win against the (NET) No. 13-ranked Maryland Terrapins. 

Aneesah Morrow, who had 29 points in the loss, continues to be one of the best players in the Big East. Offensively, Morrow has scored more than 20 points in every contest since her first meeting against UConn and is second in the conference with 25.7 PPG. Defensively, Morrow enters having grabbed 14 or more boards in each of her last four contests while leading the league with 12.3 RPG. Even though she might not win Big East Player of the Year, her 37 blocks and 80 steals make her a strong candidate to win Big East Defensive Player of the Year.  

Darrione Rogers has been DePaul’s other valuable weapon on offense. Rogers averages 17.5 points at a 36.4% clip, but her prowess comes both in transition and in the middle of the court. Rogers is third in the Big East behind Mühl and Lauren Park-Lane with 151 assists, but has not had 10 or more in one game since the first day of the month. She finds other ways to be involved as well as she is third on the team in steals and blocks with 38 and 13 respectively. 

Like Rogers, both Kendall Holmes and Anaya Peoples lead the backcourt with their own style of play. For Holmes, it comes with having as many assists as Morrow while averaging 9.4 points per contest despite her 2.5 RPG. Peoples is just as efficient on offense with 9.2 PPG at a 46.2% clip, but is a much bigger threat on defense with 56 steals, including a season-high five against the Huskies in their last meeting. Both guards were contained against UConn last time around, so expect them to step up and contribute on both ends of the floor in a massive revenge game. 

Because of how dominant someone like Morrow is, the keys to this game are going to come down to both offense and defense. This is a battle between the top two scoring teams in the conference as the Blue Demons average 77.3 points and the Huskies average 76.8, a number that has been declining since they beat the Tennessee Volunteers. Both teams also sit at the top of the league in total rebounds, with UConn averaging 40.6 and DePaul averaging 41.4. The better team on both ends of the floor will walk out of Wintrust Arena as a winner. 

Tipoff in the Huskies’ road finale is scheduled for 2 p.m. EST from Wintrust Arena on FOX. 

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