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Geno Auriemma: Caroline Ducharme returned ‘just in time’ for UConn

Caroline Ducharme (33) and her teammates react after her key 3-pointer in UConn's win against Creighton. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Caroline Ducharme had not played since Dec. 31 for UConn women’s basketball. But in her first game back from a concussion, she came up big when it counted for the No. 6 Huskies.

The sophomore guard scored all 10 of her points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game against Creighton, including two game-winning free throws in the final seconds to clinch a 62-60 victory.

“It wasn’t an easy 10, but they are the kind of points we are used to seeing Caroline get in those moments,” coach Geno Auriemma said. “She’s back just in time.”

Ducharme had missed UConn’s previous 13 games while in concussion protocol. She is averaging 8.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game on the season, and she had scored a season-high 19 points in her last game before the injury.

In her first game back, the Huskies (23-4) trailed by double digits in the fourth quarter. Ducharme hit a 3-pointer from the corner with eight minutes to go to jump-start the comeback.

“Just at that time, we all knew someone needed to step up,” Ducharme said after the game. “Someone needed to hit their shot when they needed to hit shots. We were down and we needed to get going offensively.”

Ducharme was cleared for full contact in practice on Monday, though she had been working out with the team for two weeks in a limited capacity.

“Nobody wants to play more than Caroline,” Auriemma said. “It was killing her to have to sit out, especially watching what was going on, what was taking place. So she worked really, really hard to get back.”

Next up, UConn goes on the road to face NCAA scoring leader Maddy Siegrist (29.1 points per game) and No. 14 Villanova at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.