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CHICAGO (AP) — Caroline Ducharme drove inside for a tiebreaking layup with 1.5 seconds left, and No. 10 UConn topped Aneesah Morrow and DePaul 80-78 on Wednesday night in a wild matchup between the top teams in the Big East.
Ducharme finished with 19 points as UConn (12-4, 7-0) earned its 20th straight win against DePaul in the series. Christyn Williams added 17 points after missing the previous three games because of COVID-19 protocols.
The teams were originally scheduled to play on Dec. 31, but the matchup was postponed because of COVID-19 issues with the Huskies.
Finally on the court together, they put on quite a show.
Morrow had 30 points and 14 rebounds for DePaul (16-5, 8-2), shaking off a right leg injury in the third quarter. Sonya Morris scored 19 points, and Lexi Held and Darrione Rogers had 12 apiece.
After Morrow made two foul shots with 8.6 seconds left, Ducharme converted a layup to put the Huskies in front for good. Morrow got one more look, but shot wide on a 3-pointer from half-court.
UConn played without star guard Paige Bueckers, who missed her 10th straight game after hurting her left leg on Dec. 5 against Notre Dame. But Williams came back and heralded freshman Azzi Fudd scored 15 points in her first game since Nov. 22 after being sidelined by a right foot injury.
Wearing a brace on her left knee, Bueckers cheered on her teammates from the sideline. She is expected back in mid-to-late February.
Fudd’s 3-pointer lifted UConn to a 29-19 lead with 6:09 left in the second quarter. But DePaul closed the first half with a 21-2 run.
After Fudd connected, Lexi Held responded with a 3-pointer. Morrow scored inside and Darrione Rogers made consecutive 3s to put the Blue Demons in front. Sonya Morris’ pullup jumper made it 40-31 at halftime.
DePaul shot 72.2 percent (13 for 18) in the second quarter, compared to 33.3 percent (4 for 12) for UConn. The Huskies also committed 10 turnovers in the first half.
“That’s what happens against a good team when we don’t find them, we don’t match up and now we don’t run any offense,” coach Geno Auriemma said during a halftime TV interview. “We completely lost our composure and that’s what happens to us.”
UConn: Could be a work in progress for a while without Bueckers. But the return of Williams and Fudd should help.
DePaul: Bidding for its first win over UConn since Dec. 28, 1983, the Blue Demons put up an impressive fight. But they had some trouble with the Huskies’ length all night long.
UConn: At Providence on Sunday.
DePaul: Hosts St. John’s on Friday night.