AP

Ill Auriemma in locker room as No. 10 Huskies beat Creighton

Feb 2, 2022, 4:29 AM | Updated: 7:35 pm

Connecticut's Christyn Williams (13) celebrates with Nika Mühl (10) after hitting a three point sh...

Connecticut's Christyn Williams (13) celebrates with Nika Mühl (10) after hitting a three point shot against Creighton during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Omaha, Neb. Connecticut defeated Creighton 76-56. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)

(AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — UConn coach Geno Auriemma was in the locker room not feeling well, the Creighton women’s basketball record crowd was loud, and the Huskies found themselves down double digits seven minutes after tipoff.

It was just another night in this strange season for the 10th-ranked Huskies.

“Our players know when they sign up to come to Connecticut, that’s what you sign up for — you get everybody’s best shot,” associate head coach Chris Dailey said. “You have to be able to embrace that, take everybody’s best shot and then figure out a way to win. Today they did that.”

Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Christyn Williams scored 17 points apiece, and the Huskies shook off a slow start to beat Creighton 76-56 on Wednesday night with Auriemma staying in the locker room the entire game.

“We had shoot-around and everything was a regular day, and then right before the game he just wasn’t feeling well. He thought it was better he rest,” said Dailey, who is 13-0 over 37 years when coaching in Auriemma’s place.

Auriemma’s illness was not related to COVID-19, Dailey said. He missed the first two rounds of NCAA Tournament last year after testing positive for COVID.

The Huskies (14-4, 9-0 Big East) have had a run of players battle COVID-19 and injuries, starting in December when star Paige Bueckers hurt her left knee, and two of their four losses have come against unranked teams.

They weren’t sharp in a win over Providence on Sunday, and Creighton had reason to believe it had a chance to end UConn’s 168-game conference win streak when Lauren Jensen made two straight 3-pointers to open the game while getting her team out to an 18-6 lead.

Caroline Ducharme’s jumper that bounced twice on the front of the rim before dropping through put them in front for the first time in the third quarter and the Huskies were in full control after that, building their lead to 22 points.

Dailey said wins like this would help the Huskies as they play through February and into the postseason.

“To be able to come into a place like this and take their best shot that first quarter and first half and still have what it takes to win, and go out and win big in the second half, that says a lot about our players,” Dailey said.

Creighton (15-6, 10-3) went without a field goal for more than six minutes spanning the halves while UConn went on an 18-0 run to erase a 32-20 deficit.

“To me, the biggest disappointment was if we had rebounded in that second quarter, and sustained the lead that we built, it could have been a different game. We didn’t commit to that,” Creighton coach Jim Flanery said.

Nelson-Ododa added 13 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season, and she also had six assists. Ducharme scored 13 points and Evina Westbrook had 10.

Molly Mogensen had career highs with 15 points and three 3-pointers for the Bluejays.

The Huskies found no offensive rhythm until deep into the second quarter. They missed 11 of their first 13 shots and turned over the ball six times in the opening quarter.

Williams, the Huskies’ leading scorer since Bueckers went out, picked up two fouls and went to the bench with a minute left in the first quarter. She didn’t return until the start of the third quarter, tying it 32-all on UConn’s first possession out of halftime.

Creighton, the Big East’s top 3-point shooting team, made 6 of its first 13 while maintaining an 8- to 12-point lead until late in the second quarter.

The Huskies closed the half on a 10-0 run that cut it to 32-30 at the break. The 6-foot-5 Nelson-Ododa scored six of the points on easy inside baskets.

“We talked a lot at halftime that if we could maintain our defensive effort and energy the way it was the first half and get into a better flow offensively,” Dailey said, “we felt pretty confident we’d have a chance to win the game.”

BIG PICTURE

UConn: The Huskies are going through one of their busiest weeks of the season, with four games in eight days, and they’re doing it with a roster limited because of injuries. Dorka Juhasz missed her second straight game with a right foot injury.

Creighton: This started what could be a season-defining stretch for the Bluejays. They’re playing three of the four top teams in the Big East, with their next two on the road against DePaul and Marquette.

UP NEXT

UConn: hosts Butler on Friday.

Creighton: visits DePaul on Friday.

___

More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Ill Auriemma in locker room as No. 10 Huskies beat Creighton