XL Center— Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma missed his second straight contest due to illness. Associate head coach Chris Dailey is at the helm and improved to 15-0 when filling in for the legendary coach Auriemma.
Aaliyah Edwards scored 23 points, lead the ninth-ranked UConn Huskies in a 98-73 win over Seton Hall on Wednesday at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.
The Seton Hall Pirates had won seven straight games entering Wednesday, fell behind early 15-2 start by a hot shooting Connecticut squad, and the Huskies never looked back after that quick run.
Pirate Lauren Park-Lane entered the game needing just two assists in her 100th career game to set the career mark, and collected her second with a pass to Sidney Cooks with 13 seconds left to go before halftime.
The Huskies scored seven of the first nine points to open the second quarter, which upped their lead to 32-12 with 7:50 to go before the break. Down 39-18, the Pirates scored six straight, and a three-point play by Mya Bembry trimmed the deficit to 39-24 with 4:12 to go to the half.
UConn took a 53-31 lead into the break. The Huskies shot 63.6% from the field in the first half and had nine made three-pointers, while the Pirates shot 34.3%.
“I thought they showed great maturity to come out and play the way they did, but even more so the second half,” Dailey said. “Against Florida State, we came out like that and we were up, we had a big lead at halftime, and then we kind of took our foot off the pedal and the second half was what it was. And I thought today, the second half we showed the same kind of aggressiveness that we did in the first, which kept the pace and kept the score at a pretty good clip.”
Cooks scored 18 points and Park-Lane finished with 17 for Seton Hall (9-4, 2-1), which had its seven-game winning streak snapped.
In the second half, the Pirates pressed the ball hard, but couldn’t get it below 20 points.
Caroline Ducharme and Nika Muhl each poured in 16 points and were a combined 8 of 11 from 3-point range. Lou Lopez Senechal chipped in 14 points, Aubrey Griffin added 13 points and seven boards, and Dorka Juhasz had 10 points and 10 rebounds for UConn (9-2, 2-0 Big East).
Ducharme, who was two of nine from 3-point range over her last four games, connected on a pair of threes and broke down the Hall defenders with ease..
Seton Hall came into the game ranked 10th out of 11 Big East teams in 3-point shooting percentage, but cranked up 16 3-pointers in the first half. Shailyn Pinkney and Jala Jordan hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second quarter to cut the lead to 14 points.
The Huskies dominated the inside after halftime, with 15 of the 19 shots in the third quarter inside the 3-point line to take a 38-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“On the court we trust each other, whoever is playing or whoever is on the court,” Lopez Sénéchal said. “CD is doing a great job of coaching us and I think that if we just stick together that’s the most important for us.”