Despite scoring its second-fewest points of the season, UConn women’s basketball handled the Georgetown Hoyas, 72-41.
Before the game, UConn ruled Paige Bueckers out out due to the ankle injury she picked up against Tennessee. The team also announced Anna Makurat will be out indefinitely due to a lower right leg injury.
Postgame, Geno Auriemma expects Bueckers to be back by Tuesday or Wednesday said “there’s a better chance than not” she plays in the Huskies’ next game on Thursday. As for Makurat, she’s been dealing with the injury for “a couple weeks” and standard rehab hadn’t been helping her. Because of that, the team felt it was best to shut her down to avoid a more major injury.
“I can’t give you any kind of definitive timetable,” he said.
With two guards sidelined, Nika Muhl got her first start for the Huskies. With no guards available off the bench, she set a career best with six points in 35 minutes while also adding three steals and three rebounds.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa paced UConn with 19 points on 8-12 shooting and nine rebounds while Evina Westbrook shouldered the distribution load with a season-high nine assists alongside 13 points. Aubrey Griffin reached double-figures for the fourth-straight game — a new career mark — with 15 points and seven rebounds. Christyn Williams played every minute and chipped in with 17 points and six assists.
Without Bueckers running point, UConn’s offense looked lost on its first few possessions. To find a spark, the Huskies turned to their defense, which began to press Georgetown. That resulted in plenty of turnovers which UConn quickly turned into transition points.
After allowing nine points in the first 10 minutes, the Huskies cranked up their defensive energy in the second with a full-court press. The Hoyas had no answers and scored just two points total in the period. Thanks to UConn’s swarming defense, the visitors ended up with as many possessions in the second quarter (nine) with a turnover as it did with a shot in the second quarter.
At the end of the first half, the Hoyas had more turnovers (13) than points (11) and UConn went into the locker room with a 28-point lead.
Auriemma told SNY at halftime that his team struggled to get the ball inside and described his bigs’ play as “not really in sync.” However, it didn’t take long into the third quarter for the Huskies to correct that issue.
Nelson-Ododa, who played just 10 minutes in the first half due to a foul trouble, scored 11 straight points for UConn in the third. First, she hit a pair of jumpers and a 3-pointer, which forced Georgetown to step out on her. When that opened up the paint, Nelson-Ododa got back to the low post and took advantage of a smaller Hoyas front court.
While the offense found enough of a groove, UConn pulled back its press on defense in the third quarter and Georgetown responded by surpassing its first half point total in less than six minutes. The Hoyas also went on a 10-0 run in the fourth but the Huskies’ lead never got smaller than 27 en route to a 31-point victory.
With the win, UConn improves to 10-0 on the season and 8-0 in Big East play.
Next, the Huskies will head south again for a matchup with the No. 15 Arkansas Razorbacks on Thursday, Jan. 28. Tip-off is set for 5:00 p.m. on ESPN2.