The UConn Huskies need all the help they can get in a tough road test against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Unfortunately, they lost Aaliyah Edwards in the first quarter due to an apparent back injury.
Edwards met with trainers on the sidelines after having trouble getting up and reaching for her back. It’s a big hit for UConn, who was relying on her having a big game to try and upset South Carolina.
At the end of the first quarter, Geno Auriemma addressed the need to get Aaliyah Edwards more involved in the game.
“Well, right now, we’re kind of shooting the ball a little too quickly,” Geno Auriemma said to ESPN. “I think our guys are a little anxious. So, I think as the game goes on and we get into a little more of a flow, I think we can get more touches. But yeah, we’re trying to settle them down a little bit. They’re a little bit overanxious.”
Auriemma did not mention Edwards being injured and she later returned during the second quarter.
At the end of the first quarter, UConn trailed South Carolina 19-11. It was a struggle for the Huskies offense to find good shots. That’s a huge part of why the Huskies struggled to get Edwards the ball down low during the early stages of the game.
This season, Aaliyah Edwards has been a dominant force inside for UConn. She’s averaging 17.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game this season. That has made her an excellent compliment to star Paige Bueckers on the outside for the Huskies.
At halftime, Aaliyah Edwards had six points of UConn’s 30 points, as well as five rebounds, and two assists. For her part, Paige Bueckers led the way for UConn with 12 points at the half.
Dawn Staley highlighted Paige Bueckers ahead of the game
In the lead up to the game, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley praised Paige Bueckers as the player who the Gamecocks needed to stop.
“She’s good. I mean, there’s there’s no fat to Paige’s game. Like, it’s all lean. Like, everything that she does has a purpose. There’s no wasted movements out there on the floor,” Staley said.
“So, if you have some slippage defensively, she’s going to make you pay with her shots, she’s going to make you pay with her ability and her vision, she’s going to make you pay with rebounding the basketball,” Staley continued. “She’s that kind of player, just super well-put-together.”