The UConn women’s basketball is set to play its first game since December 19 on Sunday and second goalkeeper Nika Mühl will be back, albeit on a time limit.
The No.11 Huskies, who have had their last four games postponed due to COVID-19 issues, are expected to face Creighton at 1 p.m. ET in Storrs, Connecticut. Mühl, who suffers from a foot injury, will be limited to around 15 minutes.
Mühl’s last game was on December 5, a victory over Notre Dame in which second-year guard Paige Bueckers injured her knee. Bueckers has not played since, but Auriemma said her rehabilitation is progressing.
Bueckers should be able to resume operations in February. She was operated on on December 14 and received an eight week recovery period.
“She is, as you can imagine, disappointed to miss this whole time,” Auriemma said. “She’s probably the only one happy that these games were all postponed. Everyone in the Grand Orient who asked me, ‘When do you think we can ever invent these games?’ I’m pushing for February 18-19-20. Let’s play seven days in a row or something.
“But she looks good, she feels good and the rehab is going well. Now is the time to get down to business and let Mother Nature take her course.”
The Huskies are expected to dress eight players for Sunday’s game, although only seven are likely to play. Auriemma has said Amari DeBerry will be on the bench but isn’t quite ready to play.
He also said first-year goalie Azzi Fudd, the nation’s top-ranked rookie who has not played since November 22 with a foot injury, could start racing next week. But junior striker Aubrey Griffin, who has not played so far, may need surgery for a back disc injury, and Auriemma said he didn’t expect that. ‘she is coming back this season.
“Between our injuries and COVID, we have very rarely had more than five or six players available for training,” Auriemma said. “You are obviously limited in what you do. And you are not quite sure as a coach what you should be doing. You are not normal. [male] coach the players because the school is not in session, so they are not there.
“You approach Sunday’s game almost like it’s the start of the season. Like it’s the first game of the year. That’s pretty much what it feels like to us.”