STORRS, Conn. (AP)Lou Lopez Senechal had 22 points and Caroline Ducharme added 19 points and seven rebounds to lead eighth-ranked UConn to a 61-48 victory over visiting Marquette on Saturday.
UConn played with seven players once again as leading scorer Azzi Fudd and fellow starter Aubrey Griffin missed the game. Lopez Senechal wasn’t summoned to the bench until the final whistle blew.
”It is always tough when we are in this situation,” Lopez Senechal said. ”I think at the end of the day, it is just getting mentally tough, especially towards the end of the game when everybody is getting more tired.”
Aaliyah Edwards had nine points and eight rebounds and Dorka Juhasz added nine points and 10 rebounds for UConn (11-2, 4-0 in the Big East).
Liza Carlen had 15 points and six rebounds for Marquette (9-5, 2-3).
A pair of free throws from Edwards gave UConn its first double-digit lead with 8:01 to go in the third quarter. A three-point play from Chloe Marotta got Marquette back within eight points. It was a five-point contest after a jumper by Jordan King and a 3-pointer by Claire Kaifes. A jumper by Carlen rattled in and out to prevent the Golden Eagles from pulling any closer.
After a pair of foul shots by Lopez Senechal, Ducharme saved the ball inbounds and then Juhasz hit a 3-pointer to restore the 10-point lead.
”I was really happy with our fight today,” Marquette coach Megan Duffy said. ”We got off to a rough start, 9-0 run right off the bat. To come back, settle in and at one point in the fourth quarter cut it to six and give UConn credit, their defense turned up.”
Fudd missed another game due to a knee injury and Griffin, who has started nine games, was sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19.
UConn didn’t make its first substitute until freshman Ayanna Patterson replaced Juhasz with 7:07 remaining in the first half.
”It is not healthy for anybody,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ”The biggest thing is not being able to bring any point production off the bench which always something I’ve tried to have to make sure we have somebody who is a scorer that we can put into the game and give us a quick jolt. In a game like today when we really needed offense, it is tougher than usual.”
Just 41 seconds into the second half, Juhasz went down underneath the visiting basket as she was fighting for a loose ball. She was flexing her left knee before walking slowly off the court. She returned to the court with 7:19 left in the quarter.
Fudd, who has missed the last six games, took part in drills before the game and could be close to returning. Fudd hasn’t played since a Dec. 4 loss at Notre Dame. She was averaging 20.6 points per game and is still second on the team with 20 3-pointers.
UConn: Visits Butler on Tuesday night
Marquette: Visits DePaul on Wednesday night
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