WASHINGTON (AP)Dorka Juhasz had 18 points and 15 rebounds to help No. 4 Connecticut fend off Georgetown 67-59, snapping a rare two-game slide Saturday night.
Aubrey Griffin added 18 points for the short-handed Huskies (22-4, 14-1 Big East), who were coming off back-to-back losses for the first time since 1993. They haven’t dropped three in a row since that same season.
”Even when we got up 15, 16, it never seemed safe,” Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. ”Nothing ever seems safe anymore. But we got a stop when we needed a stop. We got a bucket when we needed a bucket. We made some free throws. Finding a way to win sometimes is just as valuable as having somebody who can make shots.”
Freshman Kennedy Fauntleroy had a game-high 24 points for the Hoyas (12-13, 5-11), who have lost 34 consecutive games to Connecticut.
Connecticut dominated the glass, outrebounding the Hoyas 43-23 in a game played off campus at the Entertainment & Sports Arena, the home of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
”That’s why they’re UConn,” Georgetown coach James Howard said. ”They might not have all the pieces, but they have that size and that length. We still tried to go in there and tried to put a body on them, but some things we just missed on and they were able to capitalize.”
The Huskies lost 81-77 on Sunday to No. 1 South Carolina, then followed it up Wednesday with a 59-52 setback at Marquette to leave the program in an unusual predicament.
”I think it was a learning thing,” Griffin said. ”We learned from it and we’re just going on to the next game. That’s what our mentality is.”
In the first half, Georgetown threatened to deal Connecticut its third loss in seven days. The Hoyas held an early seven-point advantage, led 17-13 after a quarter and were within three points in the middle of the third quarter.
Connecticut finally created some separation with a 12-0 spurt spanning parts of the final two periods to push its advantage to 51-36. Griffin scored six points in the run, while Georgetown was held scoreless for nearly five minutes.
The Hoyas pulled within 63-59 with 28.7 seconds remaining, but the Huskies made their last four free throws to seal the victory.
Connecticut, which committed 23 turnovers in a 65-50 defeat of the Hoyas on Jan. 15, again struggled with Georgetown’s defense. The Huskies had 12 turnovers at halftime and 23 for the game.
UConn guard Lou Lopez Senechal was limited to a season-low five points.
”The way our team is constructed right now, all five players we put on the floor have to play really well every night in order for us to have the kind of success we’ve had leading up to these three games this week,” Auriemma said. ”And we’re not getting that right now. We’re not getting the cohesiveness of five guys playing well and playing together and helping each other.”
Connecticut: The Huskies maintained their Big East lead even though sophomore guards Caroline Ducharme (concussion) and Azzi Fudd (right knee) remained sidelined. Ducharme has missed 13 consecutive games and Fudd has sat out the last nine games.
Georgetown: The Hoyas haven’t defeated Connecticut since 1993, but they’ve clearly made year-over-year progress against the Big East power. Georgetown’s average margin of defeat in two losses to the Huskies last season was 43.5 points and dropped this year’s home-and-home by a total of 23 points.
While Connecticut is near-certain to fall out of the top five after its loss at Marquette, the Huskies limited the damage to their ranking by handling the Hoyas.
Connecticut returns home to face Creighton on Wednesday.
Georgetown visits Butler on Wednesday.
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