Women’s Basketball: No. 6 UConn routs Northeastern in Husky battle 

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The UConn Women’s basketball team takes on Northeastern University at UConn’s first home game of the season at Gampel Pavilion on Thursday night, Nov. 10, 2022. UConn beat Northeastern 98-39 after leading the whole game. Photo by Erin Knapp/Daily Campus.

In their home opener, the No. 6 UConn Huskies women’s basketball team got their season started with a bang, absolutely demolishing New England rival Northeastern with a 98-39 victory at Gampel Pavilion on campus in Storrs, CT. Azzi Fudd led the pack with 26 points, six steals and four assists – but just one three, which is rare for the sophomore. Connecticut also got a pair of double-doubles from starting bigs Dorka Juhász and Aaliyah Edwards, who each demonstrated their dominance over the inferior Northeastern Huskies.  

“I would think everyone knew [about Fudd’s attacking abilities],” noted coach Geno Auriemma. “If they didn’t, that’s how she played in high school. She scored in a lot of different ways. I was happy to see her so aggressive without the ball. You need to figure out a way to put points on the board. The more she does that, the more teams have to respect her.” 

“I’m really lucky to have teammates encouraging me when I miss,” noted Fudd. “Attacking and getting to the rim helps me get into the rhythm to get that one three I did get tonight.” 

Nika Mühl got the party kicked off with a high-arching three-pointer on the first possession of the game, and then Edwards extended the lead with a layup. A nice pass from Mühl gave Juhász an easy chance to make it 7-0 early. Northeastern’s JaMiya Braxton and Lou Lopez-Sénéchal traded triples and, surprisingly, Fudd had her deep attempt blocked. Mühl returned the favor on a fast-break swat of her own and then a drawn charge, which the modest Gampel crowd appreciated greatly. 

Fudd converted on an old-fashioned three-point play, then got loose for a layup before Edwards got the steal and score to force an early Northeastern timeout. They finally broke their four-minute drought with some free throws, but continually missed easy opportunities. As the first quarter winded down, neither team could get a field goal if their lives depended on it. Northeastern ended their eight-minute stretch without a field goal with a post shot, and Lopez-Sénéchal quickly followed suit with a trey of her own, bringing the score to 29-9 at the end of the period.  

The UConn Women’s basketball team takes on Northeastern University at UConn’s first home game of the season at Gampel Pavilion on Thursday night, Nov. 10, 2022. UConn beat Northeastern 98-39 after leading the whole game. Photo by Erin Knapp/Daily Campus.

Gemima Motema and Fudd traded jumpers to start the second period before Edwards and Juhász added close shots. Derin Erdogan and Holly Idowu each nailed a triple to get Northeastern back within 20. Erdogan got her fourth foul just 15 minutes into the game, which was not a welcome sign for the trailing Huskies. Sénéchal splashed her third three of the game, Fudd added a few layups and Connecticut was up to a 25-point lead. Lopez-Sénéchal hit a beautiful mid-range jumper, but Motema answered with a layup.  

Griffin hit a three to stretch the lead to 30, and things were getting ugly quickly. Fudd hit a last-second layup to make it 51-19 at the break. As impressive as Fudd’s 15 points without a triple were, Edwards’ near first-half double-double might have been better. The junior notched 12 points and nine boards in the first two frames, not to mention her team-high halftime plus/minus of 34. 

Northeastern got in the passing lanes for a quick steal, but almost immediately threw it away with the home-crowd anxiously waiting to sit down. Fudd granted their wish, getting a fastbreak score to go. Edwards completed the double-double just two minutes in on a putback layup, pushing her line to 14 points and 10 rebounds. Griffin and Lopez-Sénéchal each added onto the lead on beautiful steal-and-scores, extending the advantage to 61-21. Patterson got inside for a strong bucket and DeBerry added her first season points on a post-hook.  

Perhaps the most interesting stat of the game had to do with sharp-shooting guard Azzi Fudd. The sophomore had never scored in double digits without making a triple before Thursday, but hit 20 points before she got a three against Northeastern. This is an encouraging sign of her versatility, as even when she’s not on fire from deep, she can still have an impact.  

Coming into the final quarter down 45, there wasn’t much Northeastern could do – and their eight point third quarter wasn’t helping. Juhász, Griffin and Fudd posted a 12-2 run to balloon the lead to 55 and this one was all but over as UConn emptied their bench.  

The UConn Women’s basketball team takes on Northeastern University at UConn’s first home game of the season at Gampel Pavilion on Thursday night, Nov. 10, 2022. UConn beat Northeastern 98-39 after leading the whole game. Photo by Erin Knapp/Daily Campus.

An underrated performer in this one was Mühl, who hit the first deep-ball of the game and dished out seven assists on the night, along with six steals. The point guard again demonstrated her abilities to facilitate the high-powered Connecticut offense and pace the defense – and will need to continue to do so as the Huskies face tougher competition. 

“If Nika [Mühl] makes the first three of the game, you can be sure that everyone’s missing theirs,” joked Auriemma. “Nika’s been working hard on the areas of the game she’s not thrilled with. She doesn’t hesitate, she’s not scared. The defensive part of the game was what really set the tone and that carried over for the entire game.” 

Edwards was especially impressive with her 14 points and 12 boards, showing her prowess on the glass. Juhász posted a near-identical line, scoring 14 and pulling in 11 rebounds.  

“In order to win at this level, you have to have a tremendous presence in the lane,” Auriemma said. “Defensively, you need to make sure they get no easy chances and no second shots. Dorka [Juhász] and Aaliyah [Edwards] did just that. Aaliyah reminded me of her freshman year. There wasn’t a possession where she wasn’t active.” 

UConn next lines up to play No. 3 Texas this Monday at Gampel in an electric matchup that will also be the site of Husky legend Swin Cash’s jersey retirement. 

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