A shorthanded UConn women’s basketball squad didn’t have enough to keep up with the No. 2 UCLA Bruins, falling 78-67 in the first game of the Cayman Islands Classic.
Caroline Ducharme didn’t play due to neck spasms, leaving the Huskies with 10 available players. Paige Bueckers did all she could with 31 points but didn’t get much help. Aubrey Griffin had 11 points — nine of which came in the second quarter — KK Arnold added 11 as well while Aaliyah Edwards managed just five points on 2-of-12 shooting. Overall, UConn assisted on nine of 22 baskets.
In the first and third quarters, the Bruins out-scored the Huskies 50-20. In the other two periods, UConn had a 47-28 advantage.
UConn started in a 10-0 and didn’t score its first basket until 4.5 minutes in. As if the offensive struggles early on weren’t bad enough, the Huskies were torched for 28 points in the first quarter. UCLA went 5-of-7 on 3-pointers and were ahead by 16 points after 10 minutes.
Then, the Huskies switched to a zone defense and it paid immediate dividends. The Bruins managed just 11 points in the second quarter and UConn finally woke up on offense. It closed the half on a 13-3 run — which featured seven straight points from Griffin — to pull within five.
That momentum wouldn’t last, though. The Huskies’ offense vanished again and only managed eight points in the third quarter — half of which came from Bueckers. The defense faltered again, too — UCLA put up 22 points in the period and extended the gap back to 19.
UConn put up a good fight in the fourth quarter but never drew closer than nine points. The Bruins eventually won by 11.
With the loss, the Huskies fall to 3-2 on the year. They’ll play their final game in the Cayman Islands Classic against Kansas on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.