Christyn Williams scored a career-high 29 points, Paige Bueckers added 22 points and personal-best 10 assists, and No. 3 UConn bounced back from a rare loss to beat No. 17 DePaul 100-67 on Sunday afternoon.
The Huskies (11-1, 9-0 Big East) haven’t dropped consecutive games in 28 years. And they weren’t about to let it happen this time, after losing at No. 19 Arkansas on Thursday.
UConn used a dominant second quarter to build a 14-point halftime lead. The Huskies remained in control the rest of the way and improved to 19-1 all-time against DePaul (9-4, 6-2) — 19-0 under Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma.
“It’s just lousy playing basketball this time in their lives,” Auriemma said. “There’s nothing to get excited about. This is just glorified practice, except you’re playing against another team. There’s no crowd. There’s no energy. People think, ‘Well, what’s the difference?’ It’s a huge difference. Basketball is meant to be played with the emotion of the game.
“These games that I see are devoid of emotion, so you have to create your own,” he said. “And I thought we did that today.”
Williams made 12 of 15 shots. Bueckers nailed a personal-best 5 of 7 3-pointers. The star freshman also had seven rebounds and just one turnover.
Evina Westbrook scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. The Huskies shot about 58% and finished six points shy of their season-high in a matchup between two of the nation’s most prolific scoring teams.
Sonya Morris scored 19 for DePaul, which had won four in a row since a loss at UConn. Lexi Held added 16 points.
GETTING IN GEAR
Auriemma would like to see better, more aggressive starts. It’s been an issue, and the Huskies again were a bit sluggish in the early stages.
UConn trailed by as much as seven in the first quarter. But the Huskies sure turned things around in a big way in the second. They outscored the Blue Demons 29-11 in the period to take a 47-33 lead.
“I thought we got the ball moving more,” Williams said. “We were aggressive in everything that we were doing.”
DePaul was ahead 29-28 when UConn went on a 10-0 run, capped by Buecker’s 3 with 3:44 remaining. Bueckers also nailed a 3 in the closing seconds in the half, and Westbrook stole the inbounds, leading to a free throw that made it a 14-point game.
“Everybody that played had a really good day,” Auriemma said. “They did the things that come within the course of the game. Nobody tried to do more. Nobody did less. They just did what came within the course of the game.”
UConn: Make it 1,005 games without consecutive losses for the Huskies. The last time they dropped back-to-back outings? March 7 and 17, 1993, when they lost to Providence in the Big East tournament and Louisville in the NCAA.
“That’s not something that crossed my mind,” Williams said. “We’re just staying focused and taking it game by game. Of course, we don’t want to lose two in a row. ... We don’t really pay attention to the streaks and stuff like that.”
DePaul: Playing their first game in 10 days, the Blue Demons went cold after a solid start. They shot about 36% and were 8 for 26 on 3-pointers.
UConn: The Huskies will try to make it back-to-back wins when they host St. John’s on Wednesday.
DePaul: The Blue Demons visit Seton Hall on Thursday.