UConn women’s basketball closed 2022 with a win, grinding out an ugly victory over the Marquette Golden Eagles, 61-48.
Lou Lopez Sénéchal had a game-high 22 points while Caroline Ducharme set a season-high with 19 points to go with eight rebounds. Dorka Juhász came up one point short of her third double-double with a nine-point, 10-rebound effort while Aaliyah Edwards finished with nine points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
Azzi Fudd (right knee) and Aubrey Griffin (Covid-19) both sat out, though Fudd participated in warmups and dressed in uniform for the contest — bringing the sophomore another step closer to a return.
UConn jumped on Marquette from the opening tip, starting with a 9-0 lead. Although the visitors answered with two triples to pull back within three, Lopez Sénéchal scored two straight buckets to keep the margin wide.
After 10 minutes, UConn led 19-10 but failed to score for the first five minutes of the second period and also turned it over five times. The Golden Eagles got as close as four points but from there, UConn’s defense locked down and didn’t allow a single point over the next 5:15.
Lopez Sénéchal finally broke the Huskies’ scoring drought with a strong drive to the basket and followed it up with a 3-pointer to push the lead back to nine. She and Juhász would combine for all nine of UConn’s in the second quarter.
Marquette only managed 12 points themselves so the Huskies went into the locker room with a 28-22 lead.
The Huskies continued to struggle offensively, as they made just three of their first 10 shots in the second half. But again, the defense stepped up and forced the Golden Eagles to miss their first four attempts of the quarter. The Golden Eagles cut the deficit down to five with 3:15 left in the quarter but the Huskies answered with a 5-0 run to push the gap back to double digits.
UConn finally pulled away in the fourth quarter after its big guards took over. Ducharme scored seven straight points for the Huskies and then handed the baton to Lopez Sénéchal, who converted on a tough drive to the basket and a fall-away jumper from outside the paint. UConn went up 11 with 3:18 left and closed it out from there.
Despite not playing their best, the Huskies came away with a 13-point victory to improve to 11-2 on the year and 4-0 in Big East play. UConn returns to action on Jan. 3 with a road trip to Butler.