In the past week, the No. 4 UConn women’s basketball team appeared to be trending in the right direction in terms of their overall health. On Wednesday, Azzi Fudd returned to action after missing the last eight games with a knee injury and the Huskies beat the St. John’s Red Storm in the first-ever women’s basketball game at UBS Arena.
Four days later, UConn found themselves back at square one against the Georgetown Hoyas, still down Caroline Ducharme and Ayanna Patterson to the concussion protocol.
Late in the second quarter, Fudd and a Georgetown player accidentally collided around Fudd’s right knee close to the Huskies’ bench. She subsequently hobbled around the paint and headed to the locker room with a trainer not long after getting subbed out.
Fudd dressed in uniform and sat on the bench for the second half while nursing her injury with an ice pack but did not return to the court afterwards. No official update has been given regarding her injury and her status for UConn’s next game is to be determined.
Fudd’s injury was only part of the problem, as the Huskies’ offensive struggles were magnified, and the turnover woes returned in an unpleasant 65-50 win against the Hoyas. The game started like any of the last seven contests UConn played as they scored the first four points, but Georgetown made their first two three-point attempts and shifted momentum the other way. The Huskies fought back with a 5-0 run after Dorka Juhasz drained two free throws and Nika Muhl buried a three, but the offense turned ice cold for the rest of the period as the Hoyas ended the first up two.
Neither team could buy a bucket in the first three minutes of the second quarter, but Fudd’s first (and only) three as well as a fast break layup by Lou Lopez-Sénéchal forced Georgetown to take a timeout. Even with Fudd heading to the locker room and the team not making a field goal in the final three minutes, UConn took the lead heading into halftime, as Aubrey Griffin converted two big free throws and Kelsey Ransom went 1-2 at the line on the ensuing possession.
Down Fudd and playing some of their worst basketball of the season, the Huskies came out of the locker room with a fire in their eyes, waking up offensively and bursting out to a 16-2 run in six minutes of play before the media timeout.
Not even that extended stoppage in play could slow UConn down as they outscored the Hoyas 20-8 in the frame, but they made a living at the charity stripe. The Huskies got into the bonus in three minutes as Georgetown committed 11 fouls in the period, and they produced points off those fouls by going 13-14 from the free throw line.
UConn’s offense stayed hot in the fourth quarter, cashing in around the paint and draining threes instead of free throws, as a close battle became the blowout everyone expected heading into the contest. Not even a 9-0 Hoyas run in the final two minutes affected the outcome, as the Huskies escaped victorious in a scrappy contest.
Aaliyah Edwards and Juhasz led the charge on offense as they both scored in double figures during the second half. Both forwards finished with efficient performances on both ends of the floor as Edwards led all players with a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds while Juhasz picked up a double-double in her third straight game with 13 and 10.
With Fudd playing just 12 minutes and none in the second half, Lopez-Sénéchal and Muhl scored 12 points and knocked down two threes apiece to command the guard play. The team as a whole shot 41.3% from the field while making 22 out of 26 free throws, but certain offensive struggles remained prevalent as they committed 23 turnovers (13 in the first half) and got outscored in bench points 19-3 (with Fudd providing all three points).
Brianna Scott led all Hoyas with 11 points on 4-9 shooting, seven rebounds and two threes while Kennedy Fauntleroy scored nine with three steals and three assists. Georgetown kept UConn close in the first half despite shooting 25.7% from the field but were done in by their 32.2% overall mark from the field and getting outscored off turnovers 26-14.
The Huskies (15-2, 8-0 Big East) go back on the road to take on the Seton Hall Pirates (13-5, 6-2 Big East) on Tuesday, January 17. Initially scheduled for January 19, this matchup got moved up two days in order to accommodate UConn’s rescheduled game against the DePaul Blue Demons on Monday, Jan. 23. In their first meeting at the XL Center last month, it was a high-scoring affair as the Huskies came out on top 98-73.
The Pirates have been hot since the Christmas break, handing the then-No. 24 Red Storm their first loss of the year during a four-game winning streak before losing to Creighton this past Wednesday. Lauren Park-Lane, who has scored 14 or more points in all but one game since Dec. 1, leads the offense as her 20.1 PPG ranks third in the conference behind Maddy Siegrist and Aneesah Morrow.
Joining Park-Lane on offense are Sidney Cooks and Sha’Lynn Hagans, who have helped the Pirates average over 70 points per game. Cooks is tenth in the conference with 16.1 PPG, but makes her living around the glass as she leads the team in field goal percentage (53.2%) and is tied for the lead in blocks (19). Hagans is averaging 10.3 points a game and is just as efficient from the floor (53.1%) but lights it up from downtown at a 47.9% clip (second in the conference behind Lopez Senechal).
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange, New Jersey on SNY.