Women's College Basketball

Friars Downed by Huskies 85-41


UConn head coach Geno Auriemma gives encouragement to forward Aaliyah Edwards during Wednesday’s game against Providence. Photo by James C. Garman/Sportspage Magazine

The last time the Providence Friars won a game against the UConn Huskies was March 7, 1993. Since then, UConn has gone on a 33-game winning streak giving head coach Geno Auriemma a 44-10 all-time win record against the Friars since he took over the program in 1985. When the two teams met on Wednesday, would the Friars overcome their past and pull off an upset? Or would the win streak continue?

The win streak continued and it wasn’t even close. The Huskies opened the game on a 10-0 run in the first two minutes with two layups from guard KK Arnold and two three pointers by guard Nika Muhl and never looked back. When it was over, the 13th ranked Huskies cruised to an easy 85-41 win in front of 10,210 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.

The first quarter was the KK Arnold and Nika Muhl show. Of the 27 UConn points in the quarter, Arnold scored eight points and Muhl netted ten. Meanwhile, Providence guard Brynn Farrell hit a three-pointer, forwards Emily Archibald and Olivia Olson each scored layups, and guard Nariah Scott made one free throw for an eight point Friar response in the quarter.

UConn guard Ashlynn Shade led the Huskies with 17 points during Wednesday’s game against Providence. Photo by James C. Garman/Sportspage Magazine

The second quarter was much closer, though UConn still held a 15-11 edge in scoring. However, Husky guard Ashlynn Shade took over the scoring with a short jumper and three three-point shots to net 11 points in the frame. Forward Paige Bueckers was the other UConn scorer with four points in the quarter. Providence guard Sophi Hall had five points, guard Grace Efosa and forward Sarah Bandoma each made a basket. Farrell’s jumper with 1:10 remaining in the half added two more points to the Friars total. UConn held a commanding 42-19 lead at halftime.

The Huskies blew the doors off the game in the third quarter. At first it was close as Aaliyah Edwards scored on a layup and Bueckers hit a three-pointer, which was off-set by two free-throws by Scott and a three-pointer by Farrell, making it 47-24 with 8:19 remaining in the third quarter.

Bueckers and forward Ice Brady combined to push a 6-0 run, which was broken by two free-throws by Efosa after being fouled by Arnold. Bueckers, Shade and Arnold continued the scoring for the Huskies, but they were answered by two layups by Olson. It was 59-30 with 3:54 left in the third.

Edwards decided that it was her turn to get into the action. She scored four of the next five Husky baskets to lead UConn to a 14-2 run to end the quarter, which ended on a jump shot by Arnold as time expired. The Huskies led 73-32 after three quarters. UConn outscored Providence 31-13 in the quarter.

Providence guard Brynn Farrell led the Friars with 12 points and 13 rebounds on Wednesday against UConn. Photo by James C. Garman/Sportspage Magazine

Auriemma relied heavily on his bench in the fourth quarter. Guard Ines Bettencourt scored six points and forward Amani DeBerry added four as the Huskies closed out with game with a 12-9 fourth quarter. Elfosa scored four points, Scott hit a three-pointer and Farrell sank two free-throws. The final score was 85-41.

UConn went 37-for-79 from the field (46.8 percent); 7-for-31 in three-point shooting (22.6 percent); and 4-for-7 from the free-throw line (57.1 percent). They turned the ball over eight times leading to five Providence points. Their largest lead was 49 points and they outscored the Friars 48-16 in points in the paint.

Providence went 14-for-52 from the field (26.9 percent); 4-for-15 from three-point range (26.7 percent); and 9-18 from the charity stripe (50.0 percent). They turned the ball over 28 times leading to 33 Husky points.

Ashlynn Shade led all scorers with 17 points. KK Arnold added 16, Paige Bueckers scored 13, Aaliyah Edwards netted 12 and Nika Muhl chipped in ten for the Huskies. Bueckers led all rebounders with nine. Muhl led all players with 13 assists.

Brynn Farrell led the Friars with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Grace Efosa’s two assists were the game-high for Providence.

Despite the disproportional loss, the Friars are led by first year head coach Erin Batth. The Friars are 8-9 overall and 2-2 in Big East play. Throughout her playing and coaching career, Batth has made it known that she views playing UConn a worthwhile challenge since they are often the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. She hopes that that now 34-game winning streak that UConn has over Providence will come to an end soon.

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