UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma missed the Huskies' 85-77 win over Florida State on Sunday afternoon after he began feeling sick following morning shootaround.
Out of an abundance of caution, UConn said shortly before tipoff, he was not with the team for the contest.
Associate head coach Chris Dailey served as head coach in his stead and improved to 14-0 as acting head coach. Prior to Sunday, Dailey had last served as head coach on Feb. 2 in a 76-56 win at Creighton.
"I would rather be 0-0 [in games as head coach], to be honest with you," Dailey quipped.
Dailey said postgame that Auriemma is "OK" and "feeling better." Auriemma's mother died on Dec. 8; he coached versus Princeton that evening and then the following Sunday at Maryland before the funeral this past week.
"I think it's flu-like symptoms right now and dehydration, but you can't discount the fact that it's been a heck of a week," Dailey said. "Both from a playing standpoint and the number of games you have, and then to go through the emotion of losing his mom. So I'm sure it's a combination of a lot of things, but he's feeling better and we're looking forward to seeing him."
The Huskies (8-2) have had a bad run of injuries and illnesses to start the 2022-23 season; in addition to 2020-21 national player of the year Paige Bueckers (ACL tear) and freshman Ice Brady (dislocated patella) being ruled out for the season, four other players have missed time through nine games. While graduate student Dorka Juhász and junior Nika Mühl both returned and started Sunday after missing seven games and one game, respectively, sophomore Azzi Fudd, who was an early player of the year candidate, remains sidelined because of a right knee injury.
Last month, there was also a scare when Dailey collapsed on the court just prior to UConn's game versus NC State. The school said she underwent tests that afternoon at a local hospital and was released shortly after.
"This is kind of the story of our season," Dailey said.
"This situation, he didn't feel well after shootaround and so it wasn't like you had a week to prepare or two days to prepare," Dailey said. "So there's emotion involved and it's been a draining couple of weeks for us ... but our players have been very resilient."
In their returns, Juhász had 15 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 blocks, and Mühl added 6 points, 6 rebounds and 12 assists.
The Huskies didn't have the best outing, turning the ball over 20 times and allowing Florida State to cut a 23-point lead to four late in the fourth before they ultimately made enough plays to avoid back-to-back losses, a program streak dating back to 1993.
"I'm sure I'm going to hear from him about giving up the lead and the turnovers," Dailey said of Auriemma. "It'll be nice to hear him complain about that when I get a chance to talk to him."