Griffin leads No. 5 UConn ahead of No. 21 Villanova, 63-58

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – This time, UConn had Aubrey Griffin.

The junior forward scored 19 points and No. 5 Connecticut defeated No. 21 Villanova 63-58 on Sunday, a year after losing to the Wildcats at the same court.

Griffin was home recovering from back surgery for this game which, like this one, came just after a big win against Tennessee.

“Being able to play this year and try to help my team in any way we can to help us win was good,” Griffin said.

Dorka Juhasz added 16 points and Aaliyah Edwards had 13, including some key free throws for the Huskies (20-2, 12-0 Big East) in the team’s 13th straight win.

Maddy Siegrist scored 25 points for Villanova which gave the Huskies their last conference loss last February. Lucy Olsen had 19.

The Wildcats (18-4, 9-2) had won nine straight games.

Villanova led 51-45 with eight minutes to go, but UConn went on a 15-4 run to a 60-55 advantage with 51 seconds left.

Olsen’s 3-pointer made it a two-point game with 22 seconds remaining. But Edwards hit a foul shot and then blocked a 3-pointer from Siegrist, and the Huskies also forced an off-balance attempt from Olsen.

Edwards hit two more free throws to secure the win.

“Hey man, I know I can take those free throws,” Edwards said. “I missed one, but I knew I could turn on the rest.”

UConn led by as much as eight points in the first half. But the Wildcats kept the Huskies without a point for nearly nine minutes from the second quarter through the third.

Siegrist gave Villanova a 34:33 lead with two free throws as part of a 12:0 run. The Wildcats outplayed the Huskies 15-10 in the third quarter and led 45-43 into the fourth quarter.

“You put yourself in a position to win the game and then we didn’t capitalize on the track,” Siegrist said. “They’re a great team, a great program and if you just know you hang out with them, you can hang out with anyone.”

Griffin put the Huskies ahead with a three-point game while 3:48 remained in the game.

“Today, Aubrey was absolutely blown away,” Edwards said.


Villanova: Siegrist has scored 20 or more points in every Wildcats game this season. She came on and led the nation with 28.5 points per game.

UConn: UConn was again without guards Caroline Ducharme, who has missed the Huskies’ last nine games with a concussion, and Azzi Fudd, who has missed 13 games this season after injuring her right knee twice. Former International Player of the Year Paige Buckers and freshman Ice Brady were out for the season with knee injuries.

“Today was the first game of the year where I thought we looked very tired,” said coach Geno Auriemma.


Siegrist hit just three of her 12 shots in the first half before hitting 6 of 11 in the second half. The Huskies passed Villanova 36-33 and outclassed the Wildcats 30-22 in color.


Auriemma, who grew up in Norristown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, arrived at his post-game press conference wearing a Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl T-shirt.

“There were three Philadelphia teams today,” joked Auriemma, apparently counting his huskies on the third team. “We were hoping for a 2-1 split with Villanova falling a little short but not by much.”


Villanova: Returns to host Marquette on Wednesday.

UConn: Visit Providence on Wednesday. It’s the last vote for the Huskies before their showdown next Sunday with leaders South Carolina.


AP Women’s College Basketball: and and