STORRS, Conn. (AP)Azzi Fudd put on an offensive show to help UConn win an early season showdown with Texas.
The sophomore guard scored 22 of her career-high 32 points in the second half to help the No. 5 Huskies beat third-ranked Texas 83-76 on Monday night.
”That’s an All-American performance today, player-of-the-year performance,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ”I don’t know if we can count on that every single night, but it was pretty impressive tonight.”
Aubrey Griffin added 14 points and Lou Lopez Senechal had 12 for the Huskies (2-0), who moved up one spot in the poll earlier in the day. They stayed unbeaten against Texas (1-1) in 10 meetings. This was the first time the historic women’s basketball powers had played on UConn’s campus at Gampel Pavilion.
”This game was a lot of fun and there’s a lot we can take away that we can get better at,” said Fudd, who scored 17 in the fourth quarter. ”A lot of really good things we did that we can build on.”
UConn led by five at the half and built the lead to double-digits behind Fudd in the third quarter, going up 63-51 to the delight of the sold-out crowd that was led by a boisterous student section. The lead ballooned to 17 points before the Longhorns scored eight straight to get back within single digits with just over 2 minutes left.
”I think I shot 3s in the second half,” said Fudd. ”I don’t know why I didn’t shoot much in the first half. I think we settled (down) more in the second half and we were able to run more stuff. My teammates got me open.”
Fudd squashed the comeback hopes with a 3-pointer from the wing that restored the double-digit advantage and put the game away.
”Not enough Tylenol for me to take after watching that,” Texas coach Vic Schaefer said of Fudd’s performance. ”Long time since I’ve had a guard like that go off and light us up like that.”
Texas was missing guard Rori Harmon, who has been sidelined with a toe injury. Schaefer said that she is day to day and has a doctor’s appointment later this week. Harmon wore a walking boot on her right foot.
The Huskies were able to take advantage of Harmon’s absence, forcing Texas into 18 turnovers.
With the game tied at 32 late in the second quarter, the Huskies outscored the Longhorns 10-5 for the remainder of the half, converting three steals into fastbreak layups. There were 11 lead changes in the opening 20 minutes and the Huskies held a 42-37 advantage at the break.
Sonya Morris, who arrived at Texas as a graduate transfer from DePaul, led the Longhorns with 21 points.
”This was good for us to be in that type of game against a quality opponent,” Schaefer said.
UConn welcomed back Caroline Ducharme, who missed the opener with neck stiffness. The sophomore guard had two points in five minutes.
NOT SO FREE:
The teams had a rough night from the foul line, combining to go 19 for 38 (50%).
UConn retired former Huskies star Swin Cash’s No. 32 before the game. Cash is the third player in school history to have that honor, joining Rebecca Lobo and Ray Allen. The honor is only given to basketball alums who have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Cash was enshrined in September.
Cash won two national championships at UConn in 2000 and 2002, before she was taken second in the WNBA draft.
Texas: Plays Marquette in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament on Saturday.
UConn: Hosts No. 10 N.C. State on Sunday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25