OMAHA, Neb. – Aaliyah Edwards had 23 points and a season-high 20 rebounds, Dorka Juhasz had a season-high 22 points and a career-high 18 boards, and No. 8 UConn rode another fast start to a 72-47 victory over 21st-ranked Creighton on Wednesday night.
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 Juhasz and Edwards dominated inside on both ends of the floor. Edwards topped 20 points for the fourth straight game.
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.
UConn capitalized on its height advantage with Creighton having no one over 6-foot-1.
The 6-5 Juhasz had 11 points and 12 rebounds in the first half for her third double-double of the season. She scored on a couple bank shots before threading a pass through the lane to Lou Lopez Senechal for an easy layup and 9-0 lead that prompted Creighton coach Jim Flanery to call a timeout.
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, who stayed in the locker room for last year’s meeting in Omaha because he felt under the weather, was back on the bench after missing the Dec. 18 and Dec 21 games with a flu-like illness.
But starting forward Aubrey Griffin was not at the game after testing positive for COVID-19 while at home for the holidays in Ossining, New York, and reserve foreward 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.
Caroline Ducharme made her third start of the season, in place of Griffin, and finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
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.