With the injury bug striking hard, UConn women’s basketball’s freshmen carried the team to a 94-62 win over the St. John’s Red Storm. The Huskies (12-1 overall, 10-0 Big East) have now played 13 games which makes them eligible for the NCAA Tournament.
UConn was down three upperclassmen on the night. Christyn Williams sat out the first game of her UConn career with a left ankle injury while Aubrey Griffin only played 1:46 before she asked to come out and limped off the floor. Head coach Geno Auriemma told SNY postgame that she banged her knee in practice. Anna Makurat also missed her fourth straight game with a lower leg injury.
That resulted in a shake-up of the starting lineup as Nika Muhl replaced Williams while Aaliyah Edwards took Griffin’s place.
With only two upperclassmen active and healthy, UConn’s freshmen scored 75 of the team’s 94 points.
Bueckers set a new career high with 32 points on 13-20 shooting (5-6 from three), marking the third straight game she’s scored 20-plus points and the fifth time this season. Edwards also had a career night with 22 points and nine rebounds — both of which were best marks for the freshman.
Not to be outdone, Nika Muhl scored 11 points and dished six assists — both of which were career highs for her as well — all while dealing with a sprained ankle. Mir McLean totaled eight rebounds (six offensive), which were bests for her in a UConn uniform.
UConn used an early 8-0 run to take a 10-2 lead before St. John’s answered with a stretch of hot shooting to get back within one point with 2:57 left in the first quarter. After that, the Red Storm didn’t get another shot off for the rest of the period which helped the Huskies close the opening 10 minutes with nine straight points.
The two teams traded baskets through the start of the second quarter before St. John’s went cold and missed seven of its last nine shots before the break. UConn scored 17 of the final 19 points in the half and went into the locker room with a 20-point lead, its largest of the game to that point.
UConn continued to steadily build its lead in the third quarter and put the game away for good with another run — this time with an 11-0 spurt. With the lead over 30 points, Auriemma put a lineup on the floor with five freshmen, including Poffenbarger, for the remainder of the period.
The fourth quarter was uneventful as the Huskies rolled to a 94-62 lead. UConn improves to 12-1 on the season and 10-0 in the Big East.
Next, the Huskies will have one day off before traveling to face Marquette on Friday, Feb. 5.