Women’s Basketball: No. 4 Huskies blow by St. John’s in Fudd’s return

Jan 11, 2023; Elmont, New York, USA; UConn Huskies forward Aaliyah Edwards (3) drives past St. John’s Red Storm guard Jayla Everett (4) for a layup in the first quarter at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Before sophomore guard Azzi Fudd went down with a knee injury 13 minutes into their game against Notre Dame just 38 days ago, things were going just fine in Connecticut. In the ensuing hours and 38 days that felt like an eternity, the wheels didn’t fall off, but the two losses they accumulated left fans with much to be desired.

Now, Fudd is back and so are the Huskies, knocking down St. John’s, 82-52, a team featured in last week’s AP top 25. The guard dropped a modest 14 points on 11 shots off the bench, which is a positive sign as she gets back into the swing of things. She looked a bit slow and tentative at times throughout the game, but it was more than enough for fans who wanted her back. It’ll be no surprise if Fudd breaks open a massive game in any of their next few contests.

Even though it was Fudd’s night back, Dorka Juhasz was the best performer on the floor, as she notched 20 points, 10 boards and seven assists, a career high mark. It was among the best contests of her career as a Husky, making an impact in the game in a multitude of ways. Against smaller Big East competition she has been unstoppable, but it will be interesting to see how she plays when she faces a team with a player closer to her height and size with the confidence she has now.

Lou Lopez-Senechal also had a phenomenal game, scoring 20 points on a torrid 8-9 from the field. It was one of the most efficient performances she’s ever posted, doing everything she could to push the lead and keep St. John’s out of striking distance. The guard has scored in double figures in every game at UConn, the most consistent player on the roster this year.

The Huskies started off on a monstrous 9-1 run that had the Johnnies on the ropes at home early. St. John’s, a veteran team, stayed composed and responded, getting the deficit down to two thanks to a string of smart shots and great half-court defense. Even with the maturity of the Red Storm, Connecticut still managed to break the game open with a big 21-3 run that extended the lead out to 20 points. 

Lopez-Senechal scored the final eight points of the run, as a part of a big night for the grad student. The run also saw Fudd score her first points since coming back from injury, an encouraging sign. The Huskies weren’t able to make much more of a mark for the rest of the half, leading 41-20 at the break. 

A Juhasz and-one highlighted a Huskies 12-4 run in which she scored six points. Unique Drake hit a three and the Red Storm were trying to put something together with a 9-2 streak. The run was important, although St. John’s early half struggles still plagued them as they ended the quarter with the same deficit they started with.

Fudd finally started to get into a groove early in the fourth, scoring five unanswered points and then Lopez-Senechal added a triple to open a 27 point lead. From there, the Huskies went on cruise-control, taking home a 30 point victory. 

It was a nice effort for the away Huskies, as they slowly start to blend together the roster that will ultimately take them the rest of the way. St. John’s is a top 25-caliber team, so beating them so soundly on the road with all these pieces that haven’t played together in awhile is impressive. They found themselves in some foul trouble at moments, but managed to escape it with their most depth in some time.

The Huskies will return to Hartford on Sunday as students move back into campus for the Spring semester, playing Georgetown, a conference bottomfeeder.

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