SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (AP)Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma doesn’t dwell on how good his team could have been if he didn’t lose players to short and long-term injuries, one after another.
Even with a depleted roster, No. 5 Connecticut continues its dominance of the Big East.
Aubrey Griffin and Dorka Juhasz each scored 22 points while Aaliyah Edwards added 21 to help short-handed UConn rout Seton Hall 103-58 on Tuesday night.
”It gets depressing if you dwell on it and you have to work really really hard to not think of it as defeating like I don’t have any choices, I don’t have any options, but you do,” Auriemma said. ”You have five players that are going to play and you got two on the bench who are going to sub in and now you have to figure out how you can make the most out of that.”
The Huskies (16-2, 9-0 Big East) once again only had seven players available because of injuries. Lou Lopez Senechal added 17 points as all seven Huskies scored.
After a back-and-forth start to the game, UConn took control with a 17-2 run to end the quarter and take a commanding 25-9 lead.
”It’s embarrassing. Just disgusting,” an animated Seton Hall coach Anthony Bozella said. ”It’s not ok. You come out, and you don’t fight.”
Seton Hall’s star guard Lauren Park-Lane was subbed out with 2:04 remaining in the first half after picking up her third foul and her team trailing 41-20. By halftime, the Huskies were up 50-22.
Park-Lane, the diminutive guard, who leads the team in scoring with 20.1 points per game, was just 1-of-10 in the first half. She finished with nine points and six rebounds.
UConn led by as many as 41 in the third quarter. It was 77-42 after 30 minutes.
”That’s how we always have to play. It can’t be this great, but it just shows we have so many weapons on the bench, even if we just have seven players.” Juhasz said. ”But hopefully more people are coming back and we can just keep building on this.”
Seton Hall (13-6, 6-3 Big East) was led by Jala Jordan, who scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds.
The Huskies were 10-of-15 from beyond the arc, while Seton hall was just 6-of-31.
”We just show up with the guys that we have and we feel like if we can put five guys on the floor, we can win every game,” Auriemma said. ”Tonight was just one of those where everything fell right.”
Seton Hall: Like the rest of the Big East, the Pirates are chasing the Huskies. However, with Preseason All-Big East members Park-Lane and Sidney Cooks, Seton Hall is a team that looks poised to make the postseason, fighting for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid after a run to the WNIT Championship game last season.
UConn: How the Huskies will do long-term has a lot to do with how healthy they can get. Freshman Ayanna Patterson (concussion) was injured in UConn’s win at Xavier on Jan. 5. Sophomore Caroline Ducharme (concussion), sophomore Azzi Fudd (knee), junior Paige Bueckers (knee) and freshman Ice Brady (knee) also are out.
”I don’t think that going into the NCAA Tournament like this that we’re going to be anyone’s favorite to win,” Auriemma said ”But there’s a lot of time between now and then. We’ll see what happens.”
The game was supposed to take place on Thursday but was moved to Tuesday after Connecticut had to do some reshuffling of its schedule due to injuries. The Huskies had to postpone their game against DePaul on Jan. 8 to Jan. 23, when they only had six healthy players available. The Big East requires teams to have seven available players.
UConn: Host Butler on Saturday.
Seton Hall: At Marquette on Sunday.