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UConn women’s basketball claims outright Big East regular season title in 60-51 win over Xavier

Nika Mühl set the program’s single-season assist record as part of a seven-dime day in the victory.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn women’s basketball claimed the 2023 Big East regular season championship outright with a 60-51 over the Xavier Musketeers on senior night in Gampel Pavilion. It’s the Huskies’ 10th-straight conference regular season crown, 29th overall and 22nd in the Big East.

With the victory, UConn closed the regular season with a 26-5 record while going 18-2 in the Big East.

Dorka Juhász sat out due to a sprained ankle suffered at DePaul on Saturday, which left the Huskies with just eight available players. In her place, Caroline Ducharme got the start and put together a 14-point effort.

Nika Mühl broke the program’s single-season assist record — previously held by Sue Bird (231, 2001-02) — by setting up a 3-pointer for Ducharme in the first quarter. She finished with seven on the day and now has 236 on the season.

Aaliyah Edwards put up a team-high 19 points to go with eight rebounds while Lou Lopez Sénéchal added 12 points and six rebounds as well.

UConn held Xavier without a bucket for nearly four minutes and led by as many as 11 in the first quarter, but didn’t put the game away early. Instead, the Huskies let the visitors back in the game by giving up a 7-0 run to close the period and led by just two after 10 minutes. The Musketeers carried the momentum into the second quarter and briefly took the lead.

After using all three available players off the bench through 11 minutes, Geno Auriemma put his starters back in and UConn quickly turned it around. The Huskies responded with seven-straight points to go back ahead and then used a 9-0 run — capped by a buzzer-beating drive by Ayanna Patterson — to take a 12-point lead into the locker room.

That difference held through a mostly uneventful third quarter — save for the moment when Lopez Sénéchal reached her breaking point after being fouled and picked up a technical foul for yelling at Xavier’s Taylor Smith.

UConn didn’t run away with the game in the fourth quarter, but it didn’t let the visitors make a comeback bid, either. In the end, the Huskies came away with an ugly nine-point win.

Next, UConn will have four days off before the postseason begins. The Huskies will kick off the Big East Tournament on Saturday at noon against the winner of No. 8 Butler and No. 9 Georgetown.