OMAHA, Neb. (AP)It really didn’t matter that UConn had only seven players available for its game at Creighton, not with two of them nearly matching the Bluejays’ scoring and rebounding production by themselves.
Aaliyah Edwards had 23 points and a career-high 20 rebounds, Dorka Juhasz had a season-high 22 points and a career-high 18 boards, and the No. 8 Huskies rode another fast start to a 72-47 victory over the 21st-ranked Bluejays on Wednesday night.
”I think we just had a great connection,” Edwards said. ”We played off the height advantages. There were possessions where Dorka was hitting and there were possessions I was hitting. We kind of fed off that. Our guards just fed us the ball and it was clicking for us.”
The Huskies (10-2, 3-0 Big East) were down to seven players because of health and travel issues, but they had no problem against a Bluejays team that turned in its worst offensive performance of the season.
It was the second time in three weeks UConn suited up only seven players. The Huskies also had seven for their 85-78 loss at Maryland.
The game in front of a sellout crowd at Sokol Arena got out of control early as the 6-foot-5 Juhasz and 6-3 Edwards dominated inside on both ends of the floor. Edwards topped 20 points for the fourth straight game and became the first UConn player with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds since Maya Moore in 2010.
”Whoever is ready to play today is going to have to play,” Juhasz said of the Huskies’ changing lineups, ”and we take pride in that. We come out at the start and let everyone know we’re going to dominate the game. I think we did a great job of that. It doesn’t matter how many people we have that day. We just have to start a game how we started today and don’t take our foot off the gas.”
Emma Ronsiek scored 12 points and Lauren Jensen had 11 to lead Creighton (9-5, 2-2), which shot a season-low 23.8%. The Bluejays were 3 of 28 on 3-pointers for 10.7%, their worst showing from distance since hitting 2 of 19 (10.5%) against Villanova on Feb. 25, 2018.
Juhasz, going against a Creighton team with no player over 6-1, had 11 points and 12 rebounds in the first half for her third double-double of the season. Edwards’ three-point play and Carolina Ducharme’s jumper put the Huskies up 19-4 less than seven minutes into the game, and it was 35-16 after the Bluejays went scoreless over the final 5:52 of the half.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma was back on the bench after missing the previous two games with a flu-like illness. But starting forward Aubrey Griffin was not at the game after testing positive for COVID-19 and reserve forward Amari DeBerry couldn’t make it to Omaha because of travel problems from her hometown near Buffalo, New York.
The Huskies already knew they would be without scoring leader Azzi Fudd, who has missed five games with a right knee injury.
”We talked going into the game that we had a big advantage in the post and certainly Aaliyah and Dorka played into that,” Auriemma said. ”What they did was pretty remarkable.”
UConn: Auriemma was worried at halftime that his team might run out of gas offensively in the second half. That certainly didn’t happen, and they went on to win for the first time in three true road games this season.
Creighton: The Bluejays don’t look anything like the team that reached the NCAA Elite Eight last season. They’ve lost three straight, all to ranked opponents, and four of five.
The Huskies’ 21-10 lead after the first quarter increased their scoring advantage to 267-155 over the opening 10 minutes of games. UConn has led after the first quarter in six straight games and in 10 of 12 for the season.
UConn hosts Marquette on Saturday, looking to run its record to 16-0 in the series with the Golden Eagles.
Creighton visits DePaul on Saturday for a nationally televised game on Fox.
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