No. 2 UCLA beat No. 6 UConn basketball for the first time in the history of the program on Friday night, 78-67 — not for Paige Bueckers’ lack of trying.
Despite the Huskies receiving their second loss of the season at the Cayman Islands Classic, Bueckers performed exceedingly well. But even with her multiple team-leading outings, UConn has earned its second double-digit loss this season, its most in its first five games since the 1991-92 slate.
The Huskies’ struggles are best summed up by their head coach Geno Auriemma: “You can’t beat a really good team with one player.”
Bueckers’ 31 points against the Bruins came in at just under half of her squad’s total on the night. The senior guard is a consistent high-scorer, but without Azzi Fudd and Caroline Ducharme in the lineup, UConn is going to need more.
“It was disappointing that we didn’t get more contributions from more people. Our combinations are all screwed up right now, so that’s got to get sorted out. We struggled, we had our runs, we just didn’t have enough,” Auriemma said.
Aubrey Griffin went off on a few runs to register a good performance for the Huskies. She clocked 11 points, seven rebounds, four steals and a block.
“The way Aubrey played for long stretches in that game, that’s how she’s got to start the game,” Auriemma said. “Aubrey needs to do it before we get down 15 points. That’s the issue with some of our players, they just take a long time to get going.”
No other UConn players had notable performances against the Bruins. Even Aaliyah Edwards, the Huskies highest scorer last season, struggled in the Cayman Islands. She went 2-12 before fouling out late in the game.
“Basically, UCLA defended one player and was content to let anyone else have any shot they wanted and they didn’t make any,” Auriemma said. “… Other people are going to have to step up and have to make shots. We have to find a way to get some sort of cohesiveness on offense, we look disjointed a lot of times. I’ve got to fix that.”