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    Friday, January 27, 2023

    No. 3 UConn women open Big East Play vs. Providence

    UConn forward Aaliyah Edwards (3) dribbles between Iowa forward Monika Czinano, left, and forward McKenna Warnock during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Phil Knight Legacy Championship in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

    Storrs — This week, for the first time since the 2012-13 season, the Big East Conference had four women’s basketball teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25: No. 3 UConn, No. 13 Creighton, No. 24 Marquette and No. 25 Villanova.

    The league was 8-2 to start the season against ranked opponents, as opposed to its 1-7 mark at this time last year.

    On Friday, UConn (5-0) begins the Big East portion of its schedule with a matchup against Providence (6-2) beginning at 7 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion (SNY).

    UConn has three Top 25 victories to its credit, including a win Sunday over No. 7 Iowa, 86-79, in the championship game of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament in Portland, Oregon.

    Junior Aaliyah Edwards was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament after averaging 18.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game and was later honored as Big East Player of the Week.

    Sophomore Azzi Fudd, meanwhile, is averaging 29.3 points per game against ranked opponents, while Nika Muhl is leading the nation with 10.8 assists per game.

    UConn graduate forward Dorka Juhasz missed the last three games with a broken left thumb and will not play against Providence.

    Providence went 3-0 in the Friar Thanksgiving Classic with wins over Hartford (60-30), Weber State (62-55) and Bryant (85-60). The Friars, led by 5-foot-10 senior guard Janai Crooms, are facing their first nationally ranked opponent of the season against UConn and do not have a win over a ranked opponent since 2013 against then-No. 25 Villanova.

    Crooms is the only player in the Big East to rank in the top 10 in points (16.1), rebounds (8.8) and assists (4.0).

    UConn returns to its grueling nonconference schedule Sunday with a trip to meet No. 7 Notre Dame and still has No. 20 Maryland (Dec. 11) and No. 1 South Carolina (Feb. 5) to play, along with two games each against Crieghton, Marquette and Villanova.

    Other top 25 wins this season for Big East teams include Creighton’s defeat of No. 22 Nebraska and No. 23 South Dakota State, DePaul’s win over No. 14 Maryland, Marquette’s victory over No. 3 Texas and Villanova’s defeat of No. 24 Princeton.

    Day staff reports

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