In a week when UConn coach Geno Auriemma lost his mother, Marsiella, at age 91, everything else seemed secondary in comparison.
Yet even in early December, the Huskies already have been through a lot basketball-wise. Despite a rash of injuries, UConn is 7-2 and still holding on to a spot in the top 10 of the Week 5 ESPN women's college basketball Power Rankings.
The Huskies knew in August that they wouldn't have All-American guard Paige Bueckers this season, as she suffered an ACL injury. Then freshman forward Ice Brady had a season-ending patella injury in October.
Sunday at Maryland, UConn was down to seven available players. Guards Azzi Fudd (knee) and Nika Mühl (concussion) are also sidelined now, along with forward Dorka Juhász (thumb), who last played Nov. 14. UConn still battled, but lost for the first time ever to Maryland, 85-78.
That came a week after UConn fell at Notre Dame, when Fudd suffered her knee injury, and three days after a tight 69-64 victory over Princeton, when Mühl got hurt.
Injuries are an unavoidable part of sports, but the Huskies have faced more than their share just a month into the season. Other programs have been hit hard, too. Tennessee has lost center Tamari Key for the season due to blood clots in her lungs. Tennessee did see the return, however, of forward Rickea Jackson in Sunday's victory over Wright States after she had missed two games due to a coaching decision.
Indiana has been without guard Grace Berger since she suffered a knee injury Nov. 25. Baylor forward Aijha Blackwell has been out with a knee injury since Nov. 15, although she Tweeted on Sunday that she expects to return soon. Guard Jacy Sheldon has played just one of Ohio State's last six games -- Nov. 30 vs. Louisville -- with what is being called a lower leg injury.
Saturday, Iowa guard Kate Martin left a win over Minnesota with what has been preliminarily diagnosed as a deep bone bruise on her shin. NC State were without forward Jada Boyd and lost guard Diamond Johnson during the Wolfpack's victory over South Florida on Sunday. Both are dealing with ankle injuries that aren't expected to be serious, and they are considered day-to-day, a team spokeswoman said.
Bottom line is that players and coaches have to be ready for anything, because injuries are going to happen. Auriemma and UConn have been through this plenty of times in the past, but it's always a challenge.
Player of the Week: Aneesah Morrow, DePaul Blue Demons
A week after Iowa's Caitlin Clark scored 45 points, Morrow did the same and set a DePaul single-game school record in the process. Morrow, a sophomore forward, was 18-of-32 from the field and 8-of-12 from the line as DePaul beat Northwestern 81-63 on Saturday. She added 13 rebounds and five steals. Wednesday, she had 25 points and 14 rebounds in a 78-52 victory over Loyola Chicago. It was Morrow's second 40-plus game this season; she scored 42 in beating Cleveland State on Nov. 15.
Kansas leads Arizona at the half with the help of Mia Vuksic from downtown.
Team of the Week: Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas routed previously unbeaten Arizona 77-50 on Thursday in Tucson. Back home Sunday, the Jayhawks beat Wichita State 72-52. Kansas, at 9-0 the Big 12's only undefeated team, has held seven of its opponents to 53 or fewer points. The Jayhawks, who made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013 last season, are pretty certain to move into the Associated Press Top 25 this week. They aren't far away from the Power Rankings, either. Senior center Taiyanna Jackson is averaging 15.4 PPG and 10.6 RPG.
Win of the Week: Toledo 71, Michigan 68
Preseason Mid-American Conference favorite Toledo -- which went 29-6 overall and 19-1 in the MAC last season -- is 8-2, with its losses coming back-to-back to Duke and Penn State in November. In winning at Michigan on Thursday, the Rockets had five players score in double figures and shot 50% from the field. It wasn't a bad loss for Michigan, but it dropped the Wolverines -- for now -- from the Power Rankings.
Sammi Mikonowicz hits a clutch bucket to give Toledo the late lead and Michigan's game-tying attempt comes up short to seal their fate.
Coach of the Week: Brenda Frese, Maryland Terrapins
It has been hard to get a firm read on the 9-3 Terps with some of their ups and downs already this season, but they had two notable victories this past week. Thursday's 77-74 win over Purdue gave Frese her 600th coaching victory. Sunday, the Terps beat visiting UConn for the first time. Frese, who coached Ball State and Minnesota before taking over at Maryland in 2002, is 601-173 in her career.
Bree Hall sinks a corner 3.
1. South Carolina Gamecocks (9-0)
Previous ranking: 1
This week: vs. South Dakota State (Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Thursday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2), vs. Charleston Southern (Sunday)
It was a quiet week for the defending national champions, with an 88-39 victory over Liberty led by Zia Cooke's 20 points. This week the Gamecocks will face a Jackrabbits team coming off an upset of No.24 Kansas State.
2. Stanford Cardinal (10-1)
Previous ranking: 2
This week: vs. Tennessee (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, ABC)
It was an even quieter week for the Cardinal, who didn't play. Next up is their annual matchup with Tennessee. By that point, it will be 14 days between games for Stanford, so we will see if there is any rust.
New Hampshire Wildcats vs. Ohio State Buckeyes: Full Highlights
3. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0)
Previous ranking: 3
This week: vs. Albany (Friday)
After clobbering New Hampshire on Thursday, the Buckeyes got their first real scare of the season against Big Ten foe Michigan State on Sunday, winning 74-68. With Sheldon out again, Taylor Thierry, Taylor Mikesell and Madison Greene came up big, each playing 40 minutes and combining for 52 points.
4. Indiana Hoosiers (10-0)
Previous ranking: 4
This week: Morehead State (Sunday)
The Hoosiers trailed Penn State at halftime Thursday, but took over in the second half and stayed unbeaten with a 67-58 win. Forward Mackenzie Holmes keeps powering Indiana; she is averaging 20.6 points and shooting 69.3% from the field.
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1)
Previous ranking: 5
This week: at Virginia Tech (Sunday)
The Irish had their game against Lafayette postponed by health and safety protocols, and then cruised to a 64-point victory over Merrimack. Things get more interesting this week when they face fellow ACC title contender Virginia Tech on the road.
6. NC State Wolfpack (9-1)
Previous ranking: 7
This week: vs. Davidson (Thursday), vs. Clemson (Sunday)
The Wolfpack's victories at Georgia and at home against South Florida were both good challenges from physically tough teams to play. NC State scored 65 points in both games, which was enough with the Wolfpack's defense.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels (8-1)
Previous ranking: 8
This week: vs. South Carolina Upstate (Friday)
The Tar Heels bounced back from their lone loss of the season -- at Indiana on Dec. 1 -- with victories over UNC Wilmington and Wofford. Junior guard Alyssa Ustby had double-doubles in both games.
8. Virginia Tech Hokies (10-0)
Previous ranking: 10
This week: vs. Notre Dame (Sunday)
After comfortable wins at Boston College and at home against UNC Asheville last week, the Hokies will face their first ranked foe this season in the Irish. Center Elizabeth Kitley struggled offensively at Tennessee on Dec. 4, but bounced back with two double-doubles.
Maddy Westbeld with the massive block at the rim.
9. UConn Huskies (7-2)
Previous ranking: 6
This week: vs. Florida State (Uncasville, Connecticut, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN)
For all the injury difficulties UConn has faced, junior forward Aubrey Griffin's performance has been a bright spot. She led the Huskies with 29 points -- tying a school record by going 11-of-11 from the field -- and 10 rebounds against Princeton, then had 12 and 15 vs. Maryland.
10. Iowa Hawkeyes (8-3)
Previous ranking: 11
This week: vs. Northern Iowa (Sunday)
The Hawkeyes won their big state rivalry game against Iowa State. Then they topped Minnesota to give Lisa Bluder the most regular-season coaching wins (234) in Big Ten women's hoops history. Caitlin Clark tallied 51 points, 18 rebounds and 17 assists in the two games. But Iowa has to be concerned about how long Martin might be out.
11. Iowa State Cyclones (7-2)
Previous ranking: 9
This week: vs. Villanova (Uncasville, Connecticut, Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
The Cyclones are not used to being held below 60 points, as happened in their loss at Iowa. Facing Jacksonville was a tonic, as Ashley Joens had a double-double in an 84-50 victory. Iowa State will be at the Basketball Hall of Fame Women's Showcase at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday, along with Villanova, Florida State and UConn.
Maddie Vejsicky shows off the range on 3
12. LSU Tigers (9-0)
Previous ranking: 13
This week: vs. Lamar (Wednesday), vs. Montana State (Saturday), vs. Oregon State (Sunday)
The Tigers' scheduled game Sunday against New Orleans was canceled due to health and safety protocols with the Privateers. LSU's games this weekend are at the Maui Classic in Hawaii, and Oregon State will be LSU's first Power 5 foe of the season.
13. Utah Utes (8-0)
Previous ranking: 14
This week: vs. Colorado (Wednesday), vs. UC Riverside (Saturday)
Utah won its state-rivalry game at BYU 76-59, led by Alissa Pili's second consecutive 28-point performance. Along with the USC Trojans, the Utes are among two unbeaten teams in the Pac-12.
Londynn Jones gets the hoop and the harm
14. UCLA Bruins (9-1)
Previous ranking: 15
This week: at USC (Thursday), vs. Cal State Bakersfield (Saturday)
The Bruins beat Cal State Fullerton behind the senior-freshman guard duo of Charisma Osborne and Kiki Rice, who combined for 27 points. They open Pac-12 play this week with Round 1 of their cross-city rivalry with USC; the teams play at UCLA on Jan. 8.
15. Creighton Bluejays (8-1)
Previous ranking: 16
This week: vs. Arkansas (Saturday)
Creighton beat its former Missouri Valley rival, Drake, 75-71 this past week behind wing Morgan Maly's career-high 24 points. The Bluejays already have played three ranked opponents, and now they will have three more in a row starting with the Razorbacks.
16. Oregon Ducks (7-1)
Previous ranking: NR
This week: vs. Eastern Washington (Thursday), vs. Charleston (Sunday)
Endyia Rogers had 34 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Ducks beat rival Oregon State 75-67 on Sunday. The Ducks, whose lone loss was to North Carolina on Thanksgiving, are making their first appearance this season in the Power Rankings.
Fell out: Michigan