No. 10 UConn beats Xavier 89-35, win streak reaches 3 games
Feb 18, 2022, 4:05 AM | Updated: 6:41 pm
CINCINNATI (AP) — Christyn Williams scored 13 points and Azzi Fudd added 11 as No. 10 Connecticut beat Xavier 89-35 on Friday night, extending its winning streak to three games.
UConn (18-5, 12-1 Big East) is beginning to get healthy after eight of its 12 players missed at least two games due to injury or illness this season.
“We’re getting healthy and we’re getting everybody back, and Xavier’s struggling, so it’s the worst possible time for them to get us,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “We got a great effort from everybody off the bench tonight.”
Caroline Ducharme, who had missed the last four games with a head injury, came off the bench to score 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting for the Huskies. She also had four rebounds and two assists.
Auriemma said he initially wanted to limit Ducharme to 12 or 13 minutes. She played 16.
“Caroline, she surprises you every day,” Auriemma said. “She makes an impact right away. When we have her in the game, we’re not going to have any droughts scoring.”
Senior forward Olivia Nelson-Ododa also returned on Friday after missing three games with a groin injury. She scored eight points off the bench.
The Huskies got 42 points from their bench players.
Kaysia Woods had four 3-pointers and scored 14 points to lead Xavier (8-17, 3-13 Big East). The Musketeers have lost all five meetings with the Huskies by an average of 38 points.
UConn has had nine different starting lineups this season, but has used the same lineup in three straight games.
This game got off to a sloppy start for the Huskies, who committed five turnovers in the first quarter. Fudd also picked up two fouls and sat most of the period.
“The way we started the game, was like we expected to just come out here and not have to work at it,” Auriemma said. “That was really disappointing. We played really well the last 30 minutes.”
Piath Gabriel scored 11 points off the bench and Aaliyah Edwards had 10 giving the Huskies five players in double figures.
“We have a lot of players who can put the ball in the basket, a lot of different ways,” Auriemma said.
Xavier was coming off a 62-60 win at Providence that snapped a five-game losing streak. But the Musketeers could only hang with UConn for about a quarter and a half.
The Huskies finished the first half on a 21-2 run, holding the Musketeers scoreless for the final 6:20 and forcing seven turnovers.
UConn led 44-19 at the break and scored the first 18 points of the second half. The Huskies held Xavier without a field goal for more than 15 minutes.
“It’s definitely exciting to have everyone coming back, playing together and finding their groove,” Ducharme said. “It’s been a while.”
UConn sophomore guard Paige Bueckers, the reigning AP player of the year, did not play Friday after returning to practice this week for the first time since having left knee surgery in December. Bueckers hasn’t played since suffering a fractured tibia and a lateral meniscus tear during a win over Notre Dame on Dec. 5. “It’s going to be a while before she actually gets in a game,” Auriemma said. “She needs to trust it. She could have been out for the whole season, now there’s a light there, that she’s going to be able to play.”
UConn: Hosts Georgetown on Monday.
Xavier: Plays at Butler on Monday.
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