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Big East/mid-major update: No. 3 UConn Huskies are loaded

Azzi Fudd, Aaliyah Edwards, Lou Lopez Sénéchal and Nika Mühl form a formidable core for the UConn Huskies.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Providence at Connecticut
Aaliyah Edwards is showing that UConn is about more than Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd, as she is averaging a double-double.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a look at how the notable teams outside the Power 5 have been doing:

No. 3 UConn Huskies (6-0, 1-0 Big East)

UConn picked up its third ranked win last Sunday by defeating now-No. 10 Iowa 86-79 in the Phil Knight Legacy women’s tournament title game. Aaliyah Edwards won tournament MVP.

The Hawkeyes had a five-point lead with 7:14 to go; the Husky comeback was a team effort. UConn’s best player, Azzi Fudd, started it off with a three that cut it to two. But it was more than just the biggest star getting involved. The next three Husky baskets were scored by three different players: Edwards, Caroline Ducharme and Lou Lopez Sénéchal. Sénéchal’s was a three that gave the Huskies the lead for good.

It’s a good sign for UConn that it has multiple players who can step up in crunch time. The spreading of the credit is displayed in the final box scores as well. It was Lopez Sénéchal’s 23 points and six rebounds that got the job done against Duke. It was Edwards (20 points, 13 rebounds, six assists) and Fudd (24 points) against Iowa and Aubrey Griffin (18 points, 10 rebounds) against Providence. Meanwhile, Nika Mühl had 10, 13 and 12 assists in those games, respectively, and is leading the nation with 11 per contest.

There’s a reason if a player get recruited by UConn and it is showing this season in a way that was perhaps absent in recent seasons. It might have seemed like the Paige Bueckers show in the past, but this UConn team seems loaded. If only the Huskies had Bueckers as well; nevertheless, they could still be a contender for the national championship if they keep up their high level of play.

UConn currently leads the country in field goal percentage (53.8) and is third in 3-point percentage (42.7). It plays at No. 7 Notre Dame on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET (ABC), then hosts previously-ranked Princeton next Thursday and visits No. 20 Maryland next Sunday in what will be a tough stretch.

No. 13 Creighton Bluejays (7-0, 2-0 Big East)

The Bluejays only beat Xavier, which was picked to finish last in the Big East, by six on Nov. 25, but had a much better showing on Friday when they topped No. 25 Villanova 67-46. It didn’t start off great, with Creighton trailing 19-9 after one, but final three quarters were a different story. The Bluejays won the second 17-8, the third 17-7 and the fourth 24-12. Molly Mogensen led the way with 22 points and the team overcame Maddy Siegrist’s 25 points, eight boards and four steals. It was a very solid win for Creighton.

No. 23 Gonzaga Bulldogs (7-1, 0-0 WCC)

Gonzaga’s game scheduled for Nov. 26 against Eastern Washington was postponed; it then defeated Maine 62-43 on Monday and Stephen F. Austin 71-59 on Thursday. At the time of our last update, it was receiving 33 voting points. Its win over then-No. 23 Tennessee the Monday prior to the Wednesday update vaulted it into the rankings at No. 23. Leading distributor Kaylynne Truong had 15 points and six assists against Maine and 21 and seven against Stephen F. Austin. Leading scorer and rebounder Yvonne Ejim was good for 19 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in the latter contest. The Bulldogs are sixth in the nation with a free throw percentage of 80.9. On Sunday, they face No. 2 Stanford on the road at 3 p.m. ET.

No. 24 Marquette Golden Eagles (7-1, 1-0 Big East)

It’s been smooth sailing for Marquette since we last checked in, with blowout wins coming over St. Francis (PA) and Big East foe Georgetown. The Golden Eagles have done a good job of bouncing back from their Battle 4 Atlantis championship game loss to now-No. 15 UCLA and picking up the momentum they had prior. Chloe Marotta (averaged 12 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists), Liza Karlen (averaged 16.5 points 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks) and Jordan King (averaged 16.5 points, four assists and 2.5 steals) were the key players over the two-game stretch.

No. 25 Villanova Wildcats (6-2, 0-1 Big East)

The Wildcats are coming off their loss to Creighton; they also lost to Baylor (No. 21 then and now) since our last update. The loss to the Bears was by just five points; it was at the Gulf Coast Showcase. In their other two games at that tournament, the Wildcats edged Belmont 83-80 and handled South Florida 72-50. The Bulls have since beaten No. 22 Texas.

In every game except the Creighton one, Lucy Olsen was able to back up superstar Maddy Siegrist with good performances. She had 20 points and four assists against Belmont, 18 points and five rebounds against Baylor and 13 points, five assists and three steals against South Florida. However, she was held to just three points on 1-of-7 shooting in 32 minutes against Creighton, which hurt the team’s chances in what ended up being a blowout loss.

Siegrist reached 2,000 career points in the South Florida game. She then climbed to second in program scoring in the Creighton game. She trails former Wildcat Shelly Pennefather by 376 points and is on pace to score 623.3 more by the end of the regular season. She is second in the country with 27.1 points per game.

RV (37 points) South Dakota State Jackrabbits (5-4, 0-0 Summit)

The Jackrabbits likely won’t be receiving votes next week after losing to two teams not receiving votes this week. They fell at Washington State 61-41 on Monday and at Montana State 71-66 on Wednesday. They did beat Northern Iowa 80-69 on Saturday to pick up one win this week. Paiton Burckhard reached 700 career rebounds and Myah Selland reached 400 career assists in that game.