January 8, 2022 

Geno Auriemma shares bleak update about UConn roster

Aubrey Griffin is unlikely to return this season for the shorthanded Huskies

The No. 11-ranked Connecticut Huskies will return to game action against Creighton on Sunday at Gampel Pavilion. For the first time in 21 days, UConn will have seven players available, the minimum required by the BIG EAST to play a game. The Huskies’ last four games were canceled due to COVID-19 issues.

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UConn has struggled to maintain a full roster all season. UConn sophomore guard Paige Bueckers injured her knee in early December against Notre Dame and isn’t expected to return until at least mid-February. The No. 1 recruit in the nation, freshman Azzi Fudd, is also sidelined with a foot injury.

Griffin likely out for season

On Friday, head coach Geno Auriemma gave a pessimistic update on forward Aubrey Griffin, who has been out with a disc injury in her back.

“I don’t envision her being back this season,” Auriemma said, adding that the injury may require surgery.

Griffin is a versatile, athletic forward who appeared in 29 games with five starts last season. She averaged 6.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals in just under 17 minutes per game. The 6’1 junior was expected to be a key part of the team’s rotation this season, and her absence makes UConn’s roster even thinner.

Between injuries and COVID-19 issues, the roster challenges have taken a toll on Auriemma. He expressed fatigue over the uncertainties and challenges of playing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think every coach has had to figure out a way to to deal with it, and some deal with it better than others,” Auriemma said. “Some players deal with it better than others, but I don’t think anyone’s been unaffected and feels like, ‘I’m in good shape. I’ve made it through this okay.’ Everyone’s been affected, and it’s all negative. I don’t know there’s one positive aspect that’s come out of these past two years for anybody.”

Even with the minimum number of players available, those players will not be at full strength. Nika Mühl, who missed UConn’s last three games, is available but will be limited to 15 minutes. The Huskies will face a streaking Creighton team on Sunday that currently sits at 5-0 in the BIG EAST.

Written by Tee Baker

Tee has been a contributor to The Next since March Madness 2021 and is currently a contributing editor, BIG EAST beat reporter and curator of historical deep dives.

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