UConn is finally starting to regain its health after a brutal stretch

NEW YORK (AP) — UConn is finally beginning to recover.

The fourth-ranked Huskies welcomed back coach Geno Auriemma and star guard Azzi Fudd on Wednesday night in a 30-point rout of St. John’s. The Huskies had to reschedule a game days earlier against DePaul when they lacked the seven healthy scholarship players needed to play the contest.

It’s been that kind of year for UConn, which has had just two players in all 16 games this season, with the others missing at least one game through injury, illness or travel issues.

They also missed their Hall of Fame coach for four games due to an illness he has been suffering from for a month. He was back on the bench against St. John’s after missing the Huskies’ previous two games because he wasn’t feeling well. He also missed two games while sick last month. The 68-year-old coach is also mourning the passing of his 91-year-old mother in early December.

“Obviously we really missed him,” senior striker Dorka Juhász said of Auriemma. “They did a great job while he was away, but obviously having the whole coaching staff is amazing. It’s good to see him smiling, laughing, and I think it was a nice little rest for him, I hope he’s rested enough and he’s feeling good. But I mean for us, we’re just happy to have him back.

Associate head coach Chris Dailey, who was filling in during Auriemma’s absence, said she didn’t know for sure he would be back until he got on the bus for the trip to New York on Tuesday.

“He said he was coming on a trip, that’s when I knew,” she said. “I just wanted to make sure he was in a good place and he should come back and he was ready to come back. He assured me he was.”

Fudd missed eight games after injuring her right knee against Notre Dame on Dec. 4. She was cleared to return to basketball two weeks ago and warmed up a few times before playing on Wednesday.

“I had to come into the game and remember to stay aggressive,” said Fudd, who scored 14 points in 20 minutes in the 82-52 win. “I’ve been out for a while so I felt like I did a good job of getting the rust out, but I know my reaction time and all of that will improve as we continue to player.”

UConn was still missing Caroline Ducharme and Ayanna Patterson, who are on concussion protocol. Paige Bueckers (torn ACL) and rookie Ice Brady (dislocated kneecap) are out for the year.

“I think once we get (Caroline Ducharme) and Ayanna back in the mix, it will only add to what we’re working towards,” said associate head coach Chris Dailey, who replaced for a while. the absence of Auriemma. “So I just think everyone is in a good place now.”

The Huskies have a busy streak with six games over 14 days and having a full roster would make that a little easier.

“We tried holy water. We tried burning sage. None of them seem to work,” Dailey said after a win over Xavier last week. “It’s just something we have to deal with. Whoever we have, we feel like we’ve had enough.


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

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