STORRS, Conn. (AP)No. 5 UConn trailed Butler by nine points early, but by the end of the Saturday’s game, coach Geno Auriemma was dancing on the sideline.
Aaliyah Edwards scored 20 points, Aubrey Griffin and Lou Lopez Senechal each added 17 points and Connecticut, which had just seven healthy players again, routed Butler 79-39.
Dorka Juhasz added 14 points for the Huskies (17-2, 10-0 Big East), who have won 10 in a row.
Jessica Carrothers and Sydney Janes each had seven points for the Bulldogs (7-13, 2-9)
Butler surprised the Huskies early with a 13-0 run that put the Bulldogs up 13-4. But UConn outscored Butler 75-26 from there.
”I knew that once we got some momentum, once we got some flow, that we would be OK,” Auriemma said.
The Huskies held Butler scoreless for the last 5:13 of the first quarter and trailed just 13-10 after 10 minutes. UConn regained the lead 18-16 on a jumper by Griffin as part of a 21-4 run that saw the Huskies take a 25-17 lead.
Lopez Senechal had 14 of her points before intermission and UConn led 36-19 at the half.
The Huskies outscored Butler 38-14 in the paint and 21-5 on the fast break. They outrebounded Butler 38-26.
Auriemma, who has struggled himself with illness and the death of his mother in December, was caught on camera dancing after guard Nika Muhl, who had some issues with shooting earlier in the game, made a bucket late.
”It’s always a joy when you can make coach smile,” Griffin said. ”I think we did a great job coming back after that start in the beginning. And it’s good to see him enjoying himself.”
UConn announced Friday that leading scorer Azzi Fudd, who re-injured her right knee last Sunday against Georgetown, will be on crutches for two weeks before being re-evaluated. Caroline Ducharme and Ayanna Patterson remain in concussion protocol.
The program’s health problems even extend to their mascot, Jonathan the Husky dog, who underwent surgery last week.
”It’s almost you’re thinking that there’s something with UConn, when it’s not just the basketball team,” Lopez Senechal said. ”It’s not fun to find out something like that and you hope that he’s going to get better. Hopefully, we’re all going uphill from now and getting better.”
Butler: Has never beaten UConn, falling to 0-5 since the teams first met in 2021. They lost the first meeting this season 80-47 in Indianapolis. But coach Austin Parkinson saw some positives on Sunday.
”I think to come out of the gates and to not play with fear, I thought that was really encouraging, he said. ”And I think that is something that we can take with us in the future.”
UConn: This was the first of five games in 11 days for the Huskies, a stretch that will include a visit to Tennessee on Thursday.
Auriemma said he’ll try to give his players as much rest as possible.
”This stretch, the next 11 days, is probably the toughest stretch of the season, so we have to figure out how to do this,” he said.
Butler: Travels to St. John’s on Wednesday.
UConn: Hosts DePaul on Monday in game that was postponed earlier this month when the Huskies did not have the minimum number of healthy players required to take the court.
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