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UConn women’s basketball outlasts Seton Hall, 92-78

The Huskies got big nights from a pair of role players in the victory.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Despite trailing by as many as nine points, UConn women’s basketball fought back and earned a tough victory over the Seton Hall Pirates, 92-78.

Playing at her dad’s alma mater, Aubrey Griffin had the best game of her young career, setting career-highs with 25 points and 12 rebounds — good for her first career double-double as well.

Crystal Dangerfield missed her second straight game with a back injury, giving Molly Bent the start once again. The senior also had her best performance in a UConn uniform, dropping a career-best 10 points to go with four rebounds, three assists and just one turnover.

The first three minutes gave no indication that it would be anything other than a typical UConn blowout. The Huskies took control of the game with a jumper from Christyn Williams that put the team up 11-3.

But a combination of foul trouble, turnovers and stagnant offense opened the door for a 9-0 Seton Hall run that put the Pirates on top 12-11. After trading baskets for a few possessions, Seton Hall caught fire from three, hitting four triples to go up nine after one quarter.

With Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Christyn Williams both on the bench with foul trouble, UConn got a much-needed spark from Griffin. She forced a steal on the baseline, took the ball coast-to-coast and worked her way to the free throw line.

A Griffin basket helped the Huskies re-take the advantage but Seton Hall snatched it right back with a 3-pointer six seconds later. UConn finally took the lead for good with 4:15 left in the second quarter thanks to a three from Bent. At the half, the Huskies went into the locker room with a four-point lead.

Once the second half began, UConn maintained its lead but couldn’t pull away. Despite leading by as many as 12 at one point in the period, the Pirates got the deficit down to four in the final minute. However, that was as close as they got.

UConn opened the fourth quarter with a quick 7-0 spurt before Seton Hall responded with six points of their own. But after that, the Huskies pulled away with an 11-0 run that put them up by 18. UConn saw out the final few minutes of the game and came away with what ended up as a relatively comfortable victory.

Even without Dangerfield in the lineup, the Huskies reached the 90-point mark for the first time this season. Much of that offense came from UConn’s domination on the boards, out-rebounding the Pirates 45-24 and grabbing a ridiculous 27 offensive rebounds (60 percent).

Megan Walker continued to play at an All-American level, dropping 29 points on 10-21 shooting. That marked a season-high for the junior and the second-highest scoring output of her career.

After sitting most of the second half against Dayton with an ankle injury, Anna Makurat returned to action with a strong complementary performance. With Nelson-Ododa limited to just 14 minutes due to foul trouble, Makurat picked up the slack on the glass with a career-high 11 rebounds paired with eight points.

UConn will have just two days off to rest up further before returning to action on Sunday against archrival Notre Dame. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion.