Third-placed UConn fought again without star Paige Bueckers, but managed to avoid two consecutive losses for the first time since 1993 by holding 71-61 in the opening game of the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center UCLA on Saturday.
Dorka Juhasz made all five of her shots for 16 points and had 16 rebounds, while Evina Westbrook contributed 17 points, seven assists and seven rebounds for the Huskies (6-2).
UCLA (5-3) trailed 65-51 1:20 before scoring 10 straight points, including eight straight from Charisma Osborne to close the gap to four with 37 seconds remaining. The huskies then left.
Reigning national player of the year Bueckers broke her knee in a win over Notre Dame last Sunday and the school said she would be out for up to two months. She averaged 21.2 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.5 rebounds and had accounted for 52% of the Huskies’ offense in points or assists this season.
In their first game without them, the Huskies lost to unranked Georgia Tech on Thursday and were held to a season low of 44 points.
UConn hasn’t lost twice in a row since March 1993, before coach Geno Auriemma made the team an eternal national power.
Osborne led UCLA with 26 points while Jaelynn Penn had 10 points and seven rebounds. The Bruins fell 0-7 against UConn.