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UConn WBB Weekly: Creighton win another chapter in a bizarre season thus far

The Huskies recovered from a 12-point deficit to win by 20, and did it without their head coach.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Welcome to the UConn WBB Weekly, a recap of everything that happened in the world of UConn women’s basketball over the past week.

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From the UConn WBB Weekly Premium:

From The UConn Blog:

Providence coverage

Creighton coverage

Last week’s Weekly:

Elsewhere:

  • Big East honors Black Fives Era with 22 games across entire conference (Big East)
  • Christyn Williams was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll after averaging 18.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in two games last week.
  • UConn stayed at No. 10 in the AP Poll.
  • 2022 signee Ayanna Patterson is a semi-finalist for the Naismith High School Girls’ Basketball Trophy.

UConn’s win over Creighton the latest bizarre chapter in a season full of them

UConn women’s basketball’s 2021-22 season has been far from typical to this point. From the injuries to COVID problems, the spaced-out schedule, and the volatile play of the team, the Huskies haven’t experienced anything resembling normal in months.

That said, UConn’s win over Creighton on Wednesday might’ve taken the crown as the most bizarre moment in an already-offbeat campaign. Just before tip-off, head coach Geno Auriemma fell ill with a non-COVID sickness. Associate head coach Chris Dailey filled in.

On the court, the oft-inconsistent Huskies put in their most manic performance of the season. It was as if the strange nature of the entire year manifested itself into a single game as the best and worst of UConn — along with everything else in-between — came out over the course of 40 minutes.

“I’m not sure that I would be truthful if I said, ‘Oh, yeah, we’d win by 20,’ at that point (at halftime),” Dailey said.

In the first quarter, the Huskies looked like they were about to get run off the floor before halftime. Their most common problems — poor shooting, unforced turnovers, stagnant offense — were compounded by a defense that left the Bluejays wide-open on the 3-point line. The hosts hit four shots from beyond the arc in the opening quarter and UConn made four shots total.

The Huskies were a mess early on, but Dailey felt it was all a symptom of one key issue.

“At that point, you just have to calm down a little bit. We’re almost sometimes — and this has been the truth about our team the whole year — we’re always in a hurry because we want to hurry up and score,” Dailey said. “Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and run your stuff and be able to get to the second or the third pass and have an advantage and take advantage of a mistake by the defense. Sometimes if you shoot too quickly, you don’t give them a chance to make a mistake.”

Once UConn settled down, the game quickly flipped. The Huskies used a 29-5 run over the end of the second quarter and into the third quarter to turn what looked like a potential rout for Creighton into a blowout win for UConn.

The Huskies got contributions from everyone, too. Christyn Williams had 17 points, Caroline Ducharme had 13 and Evina Westbrook had 10. Even Azzi Fudd, who did little in the first three quarters, got hot in the fourth and finished with 10 points. Nika Mühl had five assists and five rebounds without a turnover while Aaliyah Edwards picked up five boards — two of which were on the offensive glass.

“Everybody did something to help and I think that’s a sign of a really good team,” Dailey said.

Nobody was more important than Olivia Nelson-Ododa, though. She led the team with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists and held the Huskies within striking difference throughout most of the first half.

“I thought Liv played terrific the entire game, but certainly in the first half,” Dailey said. “She kept us in the game. It could have easily been 20 points, I think the most we were down was 12.”

If Auriemma just got sick before the game, or if UConn put together such an up and down performance with him on the bench, either would’ve been strange enough on its own. But both things combined to write the most bizarre chapter in a season full of them for the Huskies.


Best of social media

Another great breakdown from Geno Auriemma:

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A nice moment from UConn’s win on Wednesday:

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Photo of the week

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog