STORRS – In their first top five matchup in the Nutmeg State since the 2020-21 season against the South Carolina Gamecocks, the No. 5 UConn women’s basketball team bested the No. 3 Texas Longhorns 83-76. Azzi Fudd led the way for the Huskies as she scored a career-high 32 points, 22 of which came in the second half.
“That was an All-American performance,” head coach Geno Auriemma said about Fudd after the game. “There are not many players like her in the country.”
But Fudd did not receive all of the spotlight on Monday night. In a pregame ceremony, newly inducted Basketball Hall of Famer Swin Cash had her number 32 retired. Cash had many accomplishments in her UConn career, winning two national titles and earning an All-Big East First Team selection in 2002. She dominated the professional game for 15 seasons, winning three WNBA championships, playing in four WNBA All-Star Games and earning two Olympic Gold medals.
“There were so many people that played a vital role in my development as a player and a woman,” Cash said during her speech. With her husband and two children on the court, Cash highlighted Auriemma and Associate Head Coach Chris Dailey among several others.
Texas jumped out a 4-0 lead in the first 100 seconds before the Huskies’ offense came to life. Lou Lopez Senechal drained the first three of the game and Fudd finished off a steal from Nika Muhl for UConn’s first lead of the evening. The Longhorns ended the Huskies’ 7-0 run with a spin move to the basket and almost ran out the shot clock on the following possession. As the clock hit zero, Muhl forced another steal and took it to the basket, pumping her fist after the shot went in.
Texas took the lead back as Sonya Morris, the graduate transfer from DePaul, drained two three-pointers on consecutive possessions. While Muhl took free throws at the line, Caroline Ducharme checked into the game for her first appearance since last season’s national title game.
Not long after, Aubrey Griffin checked into the game and impacted UConn’s offense to wrap up the first quarter as she scored three field goals and the team’s last seven points of the opening frame. Texas ended that period with a one-point lead as Shaylee Gonzales made a single free throw.
After two quiet minutes in the second quarter, the Huskies’ offense received its jolt as Fudd made a two-point basket and Griffin scored off a Dorka Juhasz steal. Morris converted two field goals following a Longhorns’ timeout, but Griffin became the first Husky in double figures as she scored following a rebound from a missed three.
Both teams took turns between a Texas lead and a tie before Fudd scored two field goals with assistance from Muhl and Juhasz scored off a steal to turn Gampel Pavilion into a loud house. Gonzales knocked down a three-pointer to end the 6-0 stretch, but Fudd followed that timeout by becoming the second Husky in double figures. To wrap up the first half, Ducharme scored her first points of the season to give UConn a five-point advantage they would take into the locker rooms.
The Huskies banked two three-pointers during the first half, but only needed 150 seconds for their third as Lopez Senechal made her second deep shot of the game. Aaliyah Edwards drove to the lane three drives later and UConn forced a held ball to regain possession.
Muhl responded to that turnover with her second three-pointer of the season as the Huskies grabbed an 11-point lead, their largest margin up to that point. The 5-0 Husky run turned into a 5-0 Longhorn run as Aaliyah Moore scored three points, and Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda made a field goal.
Edwards ended a three-minute scoring drought with a basket and Griffin responded to a shot clock violation by stepping around in the paint before making her sixth field goal. Moore made two shots at the line before drawing her fourth foul, which allowed Fudd to drain a basket in the paint.
In the final few minutes of the third quarter, Fudd drained her first three-pointer of the game, Morris responded with one of her own and Edwards scored again in the paint. Texas tried to get one more shot off at the buzzer, but they released it after the horn sounded, and UConn entered the final period with a 12-point lead.
Morris made her fifth three-pointer to start the fourth quarter, but got put on skates when Fudd scored the bucket that helped her cross the 20-point mark. Already in a groove from the field, Fudd ended a 58-scoring drought with her second three-pointer that forced the Longhorns to take a timeout.
Moore lobbed a shot into the basket following that timeout and Texas went on a little run before Edwards crossed double figures with her fifth bucket in the paint and Fudd drained another three-pointer. Although the Longhorns scored seven field goals in the final 4:45 of the game, the margin proved to be insurmountable as the Huskies won the ranked battle.
“For the second game of the year I did not expect us to be in mid-season form, but we found a way to win,” Auriemma said after the game.
In addition to Fudd’s career performance, Griffin finished with 14 off the bench, Lopez Senechal dropped 12 and Edwards flirted with a double-double of 11 points and eight boards.
“Everybody did a little bit to help the cause,” Auriemma commented. “That is what good teams are supposed to do.”
The Huskies continue their tough non-conference schedule with another ranked opponent at home on Sunday, November 20. This time, it is the No. 10 North Carolina State Wolfpack, who UConn bested in the Elite Eight this past March. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the XL Center on FS1.