WOMEN’S BASKETBALL GAMEDAY
No. 9 UCONN vs. SETON HALL
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Gampel Pavilion
Records: UConn (9-4, 4-0 Big East), Seton Hall (8-7, 3-4)
Radio: UConn Sports Network
KEEP AN EYE ON
Williams, Fudd out: Neither Christyn Williams nor Azzi Fudd will play Friday against Seton Hall or Sunday against St. John’s, according to coach Geno Auriemma. Williams has been in COVID-19 protocols since Sunday while Fudd continues to recover from a foot injury after last playing on Nov. 22.
The absence of the two leaves UConn with the same eight available players it had on Monday at Oregon, including just three healthy guards.
After sophomore guard Nika Mühl played 40 minutes against the Ducks (the first full game of her career), Auriemma said he’s likely to use lineups with just two guards, instead of all three. Auriemma also said Mühl shouldn’t be playing that many minutes because she is easing back after recovering from a foot injury.
Depending on bigs: With limited options in the backcourt, UConn’s forwards will be asked to step up and contribute more on both ends.
“You have to have a really, really, really good four-man. Somebody that can handle the ball, shoot from the perimeter, play inside,” Auriemma said. “You have guys that are better ball handlers that can take a lot of the pressure off the guards that can play inside and outside and be very, very comfortable with the ball. Right now, you know, it’s a weird situation that we’re in. All of our big guys are very similar and that doesn’t really bode well to help our guards. For the foreseeable future, we have to be very specific in who does what. Which is not the way we normally play.”
Against Oregon, the Husky frontcourt contributed 26 of 59 points. Senior Olivia Nelson-Ododa led the group with 17 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, two steals and six assists. Dorka Juhász followed with five points, four rebounds and one steal.
“Personally, I got to take more responsibility on the offensive end and obviously on the defensive end too just because we’re so short-handed. I’m still kinda figuring out where I can help. Even this Oregon game, I think I could have provided much more on offense and defense and I wasn’t able to,” Juhász said. “I’m just looking forward to finding that in myself, find out how I can help, consistently talking to my teammates and coaches and see where I can be the most successful for the team.”
Scouting Seton Hall: UConn opened Big East play against the Pirates with a 74-49 win in South Orange on Dec. 3. It was the Huskies’ first game without Fudd. Seton Hall was also missing a key player in Andra Espinoza-Hunter, as the former Husky was serving a one game suspension for violating team rules.
Seton Hall is led by junior guard Lauren Park-Lane. At 5foot-6, Park-Lane leads the Pirates with 18.1 points and 25 steals. With 103 total assists, she leads the Big East and is ranked No. 4 in the country with 6.8 assists per game. ParkLane and Espinoza-Hunter lead the Big East in minutes per game with 37.9 and 37.8, respectively.
The Pirates are coming off a 84-79 win over St. John’s on Wednesday. Park-Lane scored 31 to become the first player in program history to record at least 30 points in back-to-back games (she scored 30 on Sunday against Providence). ParkLane also ended with eight assists and three rebounds, while Espinoza-Hunter finished with a season-high 25 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.