UNCASVILLE, CONN. — It has been a decade since the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team participated in a Big East Tournament that it did not win. But given the vulnerabilities the Huskies have shown this season, 2023 might be as good of a time as ever for a new champion to be crowned in the Nutmeg State.
Thursday begins A Lot of Sports Talk‘s coverage of the 2023 Big East Women’s Basketball Tournament, where the Huskies, to no one’s surprise are the No. 1 seed. For most, an 18-2 record in conference play is cause for celebration, but for Connecticut, it’s a step back towards the pack, and the season-ending injury of Paige Bueckers in the offseason, as well as injuries to other key contributors such as Azzi Fudd, have seen the Huskies be vulnerable in conference play. Not only did it lose multiple conference games in the same season for the first time since the end of its first go-round as a member of the Big East in 2013, each of Connecticut’s last seven wins this season came by a margin of 10 points or fewer, something that almost all college basketball fans aren’t accustomed to see from the Huskies and their usually-dominant selves. Can Geno Auriemma’s charges regain their form just at the right time?.
The two teams that handed the Huskies their two losses in league play this season, St. John’s and Marquette, will play in the 4-5 match-up, a game with significant ramifications in terms of the NCAA Tournament bubble, as both teams are straddling the cut line in trying to make the field of 68.
In the bottom half of the draw resides the No. 2 seed in the tournament, the Villanova Wildcats, who have the nation’s leading scorer in Maddy Siegrist and her 27.4 points per game. Less than a month ago, Siegrist poured in 50 points in a win against Seton Hall on February 11, the most points scored by a D1 player in a single game this season. The Wildcats lost both games to the Huskies, but both by single digits, so a third match-up with the Huskies might prove to be the charm.
No. 3 Creighton will also have its say before all is said and done at Mohegan Sun Arena, as the Bluejays already own wins this season against then-No. 23 South Dakota State, then-No. 22 Nebraska, on the road against then-No. 25 Villanova, St. John’s and a season sweep of Marquette.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday’s games, with the photos taken by ALOST senior photographer Robert Cole. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 14 pictures in total.