Connect with us


UConn’s fraught scoring struggles were exposed after Azzi Fudd’s injury

Not having her production to bail the Huskies out put a spotlight on what needs to be fixed, particularly if she’s out longer term.

News Agencies



UConn's Azzi Fudd did not play in the second half of Sunday's matchup against Notre Dame after sustaining a minor injury. A short bench is already a problem for the Huskies. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

UConn’s Azzi Fudd did not play in the second half of Sunday’s matchup against Notre Dame after sustaining a minor injury. A short bench is already a problem for the Huskies. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Losses are the largest learning opportunity, and Connecticut is experiencing it for the first time in a season in which many thought the Huskies would stumble earlier in the schedule.

“The next best thing to winning the game was we kind of got a glimpse of, like, what could happen if we don’t make up for whatever it is missing,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said after a 74-60 loss to then-No. 7 Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, on Sunday. It was the largest Huskies margin of loss in the rivalry since 2004, per ESPN Stats and Information.

The biggest thing missing was Azzi Fudd, their superstar shooting guard who came into the game averaging 24 points largely against strong competition. She has been the guiding reason UConn rose to a No. 3 ranking and was 3-for-3 against ranked squads in the nonconference schedule before the Irish.


Yet, the Huskies’ major concern has long been what happens when Fudd isn’t dropping a 20-piece or carrying a half for UConn to mount a good lead or build back into a game. The Huskies couldn’t make up for not having her on the floor when she exited with a potential injury, nor could they make up for a fifth consecutive game without graduate forward Dorka Juhász. Not to mention they planned on having former national player of the year Paige Bueckers leading the offense and freshman Ice Brady beginning to cement her status.

UConn struggled against the Fighting Irish before Fudd exited in the first quarter after Aaliyah Edwards fell into her right knee on a screen. The sophomore came back to play a total of 13 minutes before the halftime break, when she was benched for what Auriemma said were precautionary reasons.

It was in the 2021 game against Notre Dame that Bueckers sustained a non-contact leg injury in the final minutes of an 18-point winning margin. She underwent surgery and did not return until Feb. 25.


The injury to Fudd does not appear serious. Auriemma said he’s “guessing” the star will be available on Thursday against Princeton. UConn then travels to College Park to face No. 20 Maryland for its third consecutive ranked game on ABC on Sunday afternoon.

Not having her production to bail the Huskies out put a spotlight on what needs to be fixed, particularly if she’s out longer term.


A bad start sinks Huskies

Defense has often fueled UConn’s starts and eventual wins against top-ranked teams in Texas, NC State and Iowa. The Huskies average nine steals per game and use them early for transition buckets that build a lead.

In five of the six games before Notre Dame, a Husky swiped a steal within the first few possessions and by the time the clock hit about 7:30. The only exception was the opener against Kutztown when Nika Muhl didn’t steal one until 6:19, but UConn quickly added three more to hers as it began to pull away.

Against Notre Dame, the first and only steal of the first quarter came at 3:45 by Lou Lopez Senechal. She turned it into a fastbreak 3-pointer to take the lead back, 11-9. The Huskies finished the game with a season-low four.


Defensively, UConn didn’t have an early answer for point guard Olivia Miles. Miles scored 13 to fuel a 18-13 lead and set the tone. UConn struggled offensively to get many of its shots to go, going 5-of-18 in the quarter, though it did hit 3-of-7 3s.

“You want to get those first five minutes where you feel like you’re on a good pace, you’re on a roll, a lot of people are touching the ball [and] you’re getting the great shots,” Auriemma said after the 98-53 win against Providence. “Because that will carry over.”

The shooting struggles continued on the same course for UConn in the second quarter as the Irish developed a more balanced attack around Miles. The Fighting Irish went into halftime with a 41-24 lead, too much for UConn to overcome even though the Huskies won the second half, 36-33.

Notre Dame's Olivia Miles, right, defends UConn's Lou Lopez Sénéchal during the second half of Sunday's game in South Bend, Indiana. The Fighting Irish won 74-60. (AP Photo/Michael Caterina)

Notre Dame’s Olivia Miles, right, defends UConn’s Lou Lopez Sénéchal during the second half of Sunday’s game in South Bend, Indiana. The Fighting Irish won 74-60. (AP Photo/Michael Caterina)

Huskies couldn’t buy paint points

Auriemma was clear after the dominating win against NC State that the team’s success follows that of the paint.

“Our post players are going to decide the fate of our season,” Auriemma said in Hartford that afternoon. “People are going to struggle shooting the ball because they always do. At some point, the ball isn’t going to go in the basket as much.”

It didn’t go into the basket as much against Notre Dame — a 36.8% clip was its first below 50% this season — and UConn didn’t have the help in the post it needed to overcome that. The loss of Juhász was felt immensely in this one as the Irish won the paint, 46-16, and the glass, 39-26. They were 31-19 in defensive rebounds.


UConn had a season-low 15 assists, half of its season-high total in an impressive win against the offensive powerhouse of Iowa. The ball didn’t move around as much, resulting in a season-high 11 points for Muhl alongside a season-low five assists. It snapped her streak of four games in double-digit assists.

Edwards had 14 points, but only five rebounds in a tough matchup with Notre Dame’s Lauren Ebo. And Lopez Senechal led the team with 21 points.

Outside of those three, no one scored more than five points. Aubrey Griffin pulled in six rebounds, almost all in the first half, but was 1-of-12 and Notre Dame tempted her to shoot from range.


“We just didn’t have enough scorers on the floor and enough people playing at a real high level to get enough buckets when we needed them,” Auriemma said. “Notre Dame played really inspired. … We just weren’t able to keep up with them scoring-wise.”

Edwards, Muhl and Lopez Senechal all played 38 or 40 minutes out of almost necessity, which Auriemma called unsustainable. Scoring might continue to be a problem underscored by an even shorter bench if Fudd and Juhász remain unavailable or limited. Juhász participated in the first workout that included any contact on Friday and the team will see how she does this week.

With or without them available, a good start and presence in the paint should be their focus heading into another Sunday of top competition.

Continue Reading


Breaking News

Editor Pick’s

Latest Entertainment

Entertainment3 hours ago

The Fabelmans star Gabriel LaBelle opens up on ‘secretive’ audition to play young version of director Steven Spielberg

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video The Fabelmans...

Entertainment8 hours ago

Games Inbox: If PlayStation had no more new games this year, The Last Of Us ending, and Resident Evil 9

Spider-Man 2 – what if it’s all there is? (pic: Sony) The Thursday letters page wonders if Nintendo is avoiding...

Entertainment8 hours ago

KISS’s Paul Stanley on painting, facepainting and why he switched to ‘Bandit’ makeup for one month in 1974

When KISS guitarist/frontman Paul Stanley began painting in 2001, he never expected anyone to even see, let alone purchase, his...

Entertainment8 hours ago

Avatar: The Way of Water splashes Spider-Man: No Way Home in box office charts as it nears $2bn gross

Avatar: The Way of the Water is passing milestone after milestone on its quest for box office dominance. As of...

Entertainment8 hours ago

Julian Sands, ‘A Room With a View’ star, reported missing after hiking in California

British actor Julian Sands at the 76th Venice Film Festival for his film The Painted Bird. (Photo: Reuters) Julian Sands,...

Entertainment8 hours ago

Anne Heche said Ellen DeGeneres was the ‘first and only woman that I ever fell in love with’: memoir

Anne Heche, who died in August, wrote about her romance with Ellen DeGeneres in her new memoir. (Photo: Reuters) Anne...

Entertainment9 hours ago

Gigi Hadid’s latest fashion shoot takes her to new heights on New York construction site

Model Gigi Hadid is seen on the set of a Maybelline commercial in Hudson Yards, New York (GC Images) Gigi...

Entertainment9 hours ago

Mimi Webb isn’t surprised over Brit Award nomination – she manifested it

Mimi Webb is nominated for best new artist at this year’s Brit Awards (Picture: Splash) Mimi Webb isn’t the least...


Latest Sports

Sports36 mins ago

What makes Cowboys vs 49ers such an intriguing matchup? | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports Charles Robinson, Jori Epstein and Charles McDonald discuss the NFC divisional round clash between Dallas and San Francisco....

Sports1 hour ago

LeBron James and Lakers lose another close game as late mistakes costly versus Kings

LeBron James led the way with 32 points, but familiar defensive and offensive mistakes cost the Lakers in a 116-111...

Sports2 hours ago

Old mistakes hurt Lakers down the stretch in tight loss to Kings

LeBron James led with 32 points, but familiar defensive and offensive mistakes cost the Lakers in the 116-111 loss to...

Sports2 hours ago

Which first-timers will break All-Star gridlock?

With a lot of established stars in the league, it isn’t easy attaining All-Star status. That said, these players have...

Sports2 hours ago

Sources: Resolution talks in NCAA’s case vs. Michigan hit impasse over Jim Harbaugh’s refusal to say he lied

The battle lines are drawn. Harbaugh is not expected to back down and would likely mount a ferocious defense against...

Sports3 hours ago

Ex-Chiefs kicker Morten Andersen had a funny reaction to Cowboys’ extra-point troubles

The former Chiefs kicker couldn’t help commenting on the four extra-point misses by the Cowboys’ Brett Maher.

Sports3 hours ago

Missouri defeats Arkansas 79-76 in foul fest

The No. 25 Razorbacks found themselves in a familiar position Wednesday night, leading their opponent by 10 points in the...

Sports4 hours ago

LPGA facing backlash over locker-room situation at Lake Nona

The focus at the LPGA's Tournament of Champions has shifted from honoring the best players in the sport to an...

Technology Hot News

Technology4 hours ago

Led by "Amazon" and "Microsoft" .. the technology giants are planning to lay off 64,000 employees

After 10 years of driving the stock market bull run, big tech companies are racing to downsize staff to adapt...

Technology16 hours ago

Apple introduces MacBooks with new M2 processors

Yesterday, Tuesday, Apple unveiled MacBooks powered by the new, faster “M2 Pro” and “M2 Max” processor chips, in a surprise...

Technology23 hours ago

All you need to know about the upcoming Galaxy S23 phones from Samsung

Samsung has officially announced that the (Galaxy Unpacked 2023) event will be held this year on Wednesday, February 1, which...

Technology1 day ago

FTX Exchange Announces Hacking and Stolen $415 Million in Cryptocurrency

Bankrupt American cryptocurrency firm FTX announced today, Wednesday, that $415 million in cryptocurrency has been hacked and stolen from the...

Technology1 day ago

Because of a "fraudulent tweet"… Elon Musk's trial begins

Elon Musk's trial began Tuesday in San Francisco with the selection of jury members who will have to decide whether...

Technology2 days ago

An electric spoon replaces salt and spices, but with conditions

Experts have developed an electric spoon that is able to replace spices and flavors and affect the taste buds in...

Technology4 days ago

The biggest dangers of using tracking devices.. so you can escape?

If you spot an unknown Bluetooth tagging device, there are ways to disable the device so it can't track your...

Technology4 days ago

New Twitter.. For You tab to web version

The Twitter platform announced that it will bring the new tab (For You), which launched last Tuesday for iPhones and...