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UConn update: With six-straight wins, the No. 12 Huskies enter 2024 on a high note

The Huskies went 6-1 in December and started to re-climb the rankings after a rocky start to the season.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Louisville at Connecticut
With six-straight wins, it’s all smiles for Paige Bueckers, Aaliyah Edwards and Aubrey Griffin.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

After a rough start to the 2023-24 season that included everything from injuries to a historic drop in the rankings, it seems the UConn Huskies (10-3, 2-0) are starting to recover.

They had an excellent month of December, going 6-1 in their games and returning to form despite missing some key players due to season-ending injuries. As a result, they climbed to No. 12 in the AP Poll. And they’ll continue to try to re-enter the top 10 as conference play continues.

Dominant December

NCAA Womens Basketball: Ball St. at Connecticut
Aaliyah Edwards scored a dominant 26 points in her homecoming game against Toronto Metropolitan on December 20th.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Huskies started their December off with an 80-68 loss to Texas, they quickly recovered. Their next game was a sister showcase against Ball State, where Nika Mühl was able to play against her sister Hana Mühl. UConn took that game 90-63.

Next up was a top-25 contender in North Carolina, and Paige Bueckers scored 26 points to lead the Huskies to a 76-64 victory. No. 18 Louisville was the next ranked opponent UConn would face, and it was Aubrey Griffin who would shine in that game with 25 points. Connecticut won 86-62.

One of the highlights to UConn’s season so far has been the high-level play from their freshmen. Head Coach Geno Auriemma historically doesn’t play freshmen too much, but this season’s injuries have led him to lean on his younger players more. This was on full display as the Huskies played Butler, and Ashlynn Shade led the charge with 22 points in UConn’s 88-62 win.

UConn then travelled north of the border to Toronto, Ontario to play Toronto Metropolitan University. This was a homecoming game for Aaliyah Edwards, who is from Kingston, Ontario but played her last two years of high school basketball in Toronto at Crestwood Prep. While a game like this normally would have seen another NCAA Division I team travel to Canada to play the Huskies, the original team backed out, so UConn played the TMU Bold. The game was sold out, and fans were excited to see Edwards score 26 points and grab 10 rebounds.

Edwards also got to play against one of her Team Canada coaches, as TMU’s team is led by Carly Clarke. Despite being against a Canadian school, this game still was considered a regular-season game for UConn, and their 111-34 victory over the Bold counted towards their season stats.

The Huskies got a nice holiday break after their Toronto trip, and didn’t play again until Dec. 31. They finished out 2023 with a nice 95-64 win over No. 18 Marquette.

New year, fresh start

NCAA Womens Basketball: Marquette at Connecticut
Paige Bueckers is averaging 19.2 points per game in what could be her final season with UConn
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Now that January is upon us, it seems like March Madness is closer than ever. UConn must be pleased with how they turned their December around after that loss to Texas, and that energy should carry into 2024.

For a team that was ranked No. 2 going into the season, it surely hasn’t looked as expected on the court this season for Connecticut. After losing Azzi Fudd, Jana El Alfy, and Ayanna Patterson all to season-ending knee injuries, UConn has had to pivot to lineups they never expected to use all season. The turbulence of the beginning of the season has seemed to decrease a little bit, but they are still missing players. None of that will matter come March though, and the goal now has to be building chemistry among the players they do have.

As one of the best programs in the country, UConn is not lacking talent whatsoever—but lack of experience as a unit may be where the Huskies falter in comparison to other top teams. There is still lots of time to climb higher in the rankings though, and UConn’s No. 12 spot doesn’t necessarily mean they are out of the running for a deep March Madness run.

Conference play

NCAA Womens Basketball: Marquette at Connecticut
Nika Mühl and UConn now head into Big East play.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Now that it’s January, most of UConn’s games from now until March will be against Big East rivals.

The Huskies currently sit atop the Big East standings, with the only other ranked teams in the conference being Marquette (No .19), and Creighton (No. 21). From now until the Big East Tournament, UConn will play each conference rival at least once. UConn’s next game is Wednesday, Jan. 3 against Creighton, who are 10-2 on their season and sit in third place in the Big East at 1-1. After that, the Huskies face Georgetown on Sunday, Jan. 7.

Even missing the players that they are, UConn should perform pretty well in conference play, a factor that will surely help them as they try to re-enter the AP top ten. Wednesday night’s Creighton game is also particularly important, as a win against another ranked team will help them impress voters before the next rankings are decided.

While this season has been unexpected, not all hope is lost for the UConn Huskies. It will be exciting to watch them continue to fight back in 2024.