STORRS, Conn.- Caroline Ducharme led a balanced attack with 17 points and 11th-ranked and depleted UConn defeated Creighton 63-55 on Sunday after a lengthy layoff.
“She’s such a competitor,” Husky coach Geno Auriemma said. “She competes and she wants to be really really good. Whatever she sets her mind to, it’s going to get done.”
They need Ducharme and her five rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals.
The Huskies (7-3, 2-0 Big East Conference) had missed their last four games because of COVID protocols and had just seven players available to hand the Bluejays’ (10-4, 5-1) their first league loss, ending a four-game winning streak.
Christyn Williams added 13 points, Aaliyah Edwards 12 and Dorka Juhasz 10 for the Huskies.
The seven UConn players included Nika Muhl, who missed the last three games – the Huskies last played on Dec. 19 – with an ankle injury. The sophomore guard was limited to 17 minutes and had two points and three assists.
“We’re missing a quarterback right now,” Auriemma said about the inconsistent offense. “We’re trying to play at a real high level, but we’re missing a quarterback. We’re missing a calming influence on the floor that can put the ball in the right people’s hands at the right time.”
Morgan Maley led Creighton with 14 points off the bench but was just 4 of 13 from 3-point range. Emma Ronsiek scored 10.
Payton Brotzki scored the first two Creighton baskets but after the second one Williams hit a 3-pointer for the lead, the Bluejays had a miss and a turnover, Ducharme followed with a layup and the Huskies never trailed again.
It was 21-15 after one quarter, 36-29 at the half and 49-39 after three quarters.
UConn scored the last four points of the third quarter and the first seven of the fourth for a 56-39 lead. The lead was still 17 midway through the quarter when the Bluejays put together eight straight, getting the deficit to single digits in the final two minutes.
Creighton went 2 of 14 from 3-point range and shot 31% (10 of 32) in the second half.
UConn goes to Butler on Wednesday and might have Amari DeBerry, who was on the bench against Creighton, ready to play. However, Aubrey Griffin is having back surgery on Monday and is expected to miss the season without playing a game.