NCAA: Providence 50, (3) UConn 87
STORRS, Conn. — UConn has been able to play only seven games this season because of pandemic-related schedule changes, and that has put career milestones in perspective for coach Geno Auriemma.
Freshman Paige Bueckers scored 23 points and No. 3 UConn overcame a sluggish start to rout Providence 87-50 on Saturday to give Auriemma his 1,098th win. That ties the late Tennessee coach Pat Summitt for the second-most wins in Division I women’s basketball history behind Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer (1,104).
It also was the 1,000th consecutive game for the Huskies without back-to-back losses, a streak that dates to 1993.
“Right now the only number that matters to me is 13," Auriemma said. “We've got to get to 13 games so that we can qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The other stuff, I would like to think that if you've done something for 37 years, whatever, that you're going to have some milestones and if you're fortunate enough you have some pretty important milestones."
Auriemma can pass Summitt on Wednesday with a victory against Seton Hall at Gampel Pavilion.
Aubrey Griffin added a season-high 18 points and pulled down nine rebounds off the bench for the Huskies (7-0, 6-0 Big East).
The Huskies showed the rust of playing for the first time in 11 days, going without a point for almost four minutes. They trailed 7-1 midway through the first quarter, prompting Auriemma to sub out his starters, with the exception of Bueckers.
Anna Makurat hit a 3-pointer that gave the Huskies their first lead at 13-12 and UConn led just 19-18 after the first quarter. Makurat had nine points, all of them from behind the arc.
The Huskies outscored Providence 68-32 from there, including 27-11 in the second quarter. That gave UConn a 46-29 lead at the half.
“When the new group came in, we just tried to pick up the energy," Bueckers said. “We told each other that it all starts with energy on the defensive end and then it makes it easier on the offense.”
Tennessee transfer Evina Westbrook finished with 13 points for UConn and Olivia Nelson-Ododa added 11.
Kyra Spiwak and Alyssa Geary each had 10 points to lead Providence (5-7, 3-4). Mary Baskerville, the Friars’ leading scorer at 14 points per game, spent much of the game in foul trouble and finished with eight points.