Behind a strong defensive performance, No. 4 UConn women’s basketball defeated the No. 18 DePaul Blue Demons 75-52. The Huskies improve to 6-0 on the year and 5-0 in Big East play.
The Huskies limited a Blue Demons offense that came into the game averaging 88.3 points per game and hadn’t scored fewer than 72 points this year. In fact, DePaul’s 52 points were tbe fewest points the Blue Demons had scored since Dec. 1, 2016. The Blue Demons — a team reliant on 3-pointers — made just 9-37 (24 percent) from beyond the arc.
Christyn Williams because the 49th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark with a layup in the first quarter. She finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Point No. 1⃣0⃣0⃣0⃣ pic.twitter.com/8K1PWeZjaX— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) December 29, 2020
Olivia Nelson-Ododa recorded her third double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds. She shot 7-11 from the field and grabbed the rebound on all four of her misses.
Paige Bueckers led UConn with 16 points and also accounted for six rebounds. She was the Huskies’ best shooter, making 4-6 from three. The rest of the team went just 4-21 from beyond the arc.
Aaliyah Edwards returned after missing the last game with an ankle injury and finished with 11 points and five rebounds in 17 minutes. Evina Westbrook also chipped in with 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.
UConn struggled to find an offensive rhythm and jumped out to a 4-0 lead despite holding DePaul scoreless for the first 2:42. The Blue Demons soon found their 3-point stroke and hit four of their first five shots from beyond the arc.
The two sides traded baskets for a few possessions before DePaul went cold from the floor and failed to make a basket over the final three minutes of the quarter. During that stretch, UConn went on an 8-0 run to re-take the lead for good.
The Huskies had their way down low with Nelson-Ododa causing havoc in the paint. When Edwards checked in at the start of the second quarter, she didn’t face much resistance from DePaul’s defense either.
But despite the mismatch in the post, UConn settled for far too many threes in the first half. The Huskies heaved up 15 shots from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes — just one fewer than DePaul — and only made four.
However, the Blue Demons also cooled off from three after its hot start and went just 1-12 from beyond the arc to close out the half. Despite some ugly stretches of play, UConn went into the half leading 38-27.
The break didn’t much to help either offense. The Huskies opened the half by making just two of their first 10 shots from the field. However, UConn committed to getting the ball inside with Nelson-Ododa and Edwards combining for 11 of the team’s 19 third quarter points. The Huskies also only took five three pointers in the period.
UConn’s defense really locked down and held DePaul to just two baskets in the final quarter. That prevented the Blue Demons from getting back in the game, unlike what happened in last season’s matchup. The Huskies eventually came away with a 25-point win.
Nika Muhl also returned for six minutes after missing the previous three games with a left foot injury. She was the first player off the bench and finished with an assist and a rebound.
UConn isn’t scheduled to play against until Jan. 7 at Baylor. However, Geno Auriemma said the team is looking to add a game before then, so things are subject to change.