UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Aaliyah Edwards scored a career-high 26 points, Lou Lopez Senechal added 23, and No. 9 UConn, which was missing head coach Geno Auriemma, beat Florida State 85-77 in the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase on Sunday.
The school said a few minutes before tip that Auriemma wasn’t feeling well in the morning shootaround and would be out for the game.
Associate head coach Chris Dailey filled in for the Hall of Famer and improved to 14-0 in games he’s missed over their 37 years together at UConn.
It’s been an emotional week for the 68-year-old Auriemma. His mom passed away on Dec. 8 and the funeral was earlier this week. Marsiella Auriemma was 91 years old.
While Auriemma was out, the Huskies welcomed back two of their injured players with the return of point guard Nika Muhl and forward Dorka Juhasz.
Muhl was in concussion protocol after suffering a head injury against Princeton on Dec. 8. Juhasz broke her thumb in the Huskies’ second game of the season against Texas and missed the next seven games.
The two made an immediate impact as the Huskies (8-2) jumped all over the Seminoles (11-2). UConn scored the first 10 points with Muhl having three assists. Juhasz was blocking shots on the other end as Florida State missed 16 of its first 17 shots and trailed 26-11 after the first quarter. The Huskies extended the advantage to 53-35 at the half.
Florida State, which was facing its first ranked opponent this season, wouldn’t go away. The Seminoles cut into the deficit in the third quarter and only trailed 67-62 with 1:06 left in the period. UConn hit four free throws to close out the quarter and go back up nine.
The Seminoles hung around thanks to Ta’Niya Latson, who came into the game fifth in the nation in scoring at 25.4 points a game. She had 24 points before fouling out with more than 6 minutes left.
Florida State was only down 80-76 with 3:19 left after Erin Howard’s 3-pointer, but that was the last points the Seminoles would score until she hit one of two free throws with 42.4 seconds remaining.
In between Howard’s points, Edwards hit a layup and Muhl a free throw to not allow the Seminoles to get any closer.
Muhl finished with 12 assists and Juhasz had 15 points, nine rebounds and five blocks.
UConn is still without Azzi Fudd, who suffered a right knee injury Dec. 4 against Notre Dame. The school said she would be out three to six weeks.
UConn is 34-1 at Mohegan Sun Arena with the lone loss coming against Louisville in 2021. … The Huskies improved to 10-0 against Florida State. … UConn hasn’t lost back-to-back games since the end of the 1992-93 season, a streak of 1,066 consecutive games.
Florida State: hosts Miami on Wednesday to open up ACC play.
UConn: hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25