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UConn’s Nika Muhl becomes latest injury concern for depleted Huskies

Nika Muhl left Thursday's game after hitting her head. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

UConn entered Thursday’s contest against Princeton with eight players. By the time the whistle blew on its 69-64 victory, the Huskies were down to seven.

Point guard Nika Muhl lined up to take a charge in the third quarter, but as she fell backward, she took a knee to the head. She rolled onto her stomach in pain as the UConn staff came onto the court to check on the junior.

As staff tended to Muhl, the UConn bench looked on, with Azzi Fudd, Paige Bueckers, Ice Brady and Dorka Juhasz all dressed in gray sweatsuits, unable to play due to their own injuries.

Fudd suffered a knee injury Sunday in UConn’s 74-60 loss to Notre Dame and will be out for three to six weeks. Bueckers (ACL) and Brady (patella dislocation) are out for the season, though Juhasz is expected back any game now as she recovers from a broken thumb.

The Huskies led by double-digits for much of the game but struggled after Muhl’s injury, which coach Geno Auriemma said may have taken a mental toll on his squad. Still, the Huskies managed to come away with a victory despite committing 27 turnovers – a season-high for the team.

“I don’t know that we handled it great,” Auriemma told reporters after the game.  “I don’t know that we are going to be proud of obviously what we see on film. I think when Nika went down it was really a lot on some of the other guys, but at the end we had to make a couple plays, we gotta make a couple of shots, we gotta make a couple of free throws and we managed to do what needed to be done at that particular time to win a game.”

Aubrey Griffin led the Huskies to victory, with 29 points and 10 rebounds.

Lou Lopez-Senechal was the second-leading scorer with 19 points despite sitting out the final 4:19 of the contest due to an apparent foot injury. Lopez-Senechal has been nursing a foot strain, which she aggravated Thursday, per Auriemma — but the coach said the injury is not serious.

With the diminished roster, Caroline Ducharme and Amari DeBerry saw increased minutes. Ducharme, who has battled neck stiffness throughout the season, was averaging 18.7 minutes before playing 29 against Princeton. DeBerry played 26 minutes, an increase on her previous high of 13.