No. 3 UConn women’s basketball dropped its first game of the season Sunday afternoon after falling to the No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 74-60.
Azzi Fudd suffered an apparent right knee injury in the first half after Aaliyah Edwards fell into her after being fouled. She went into the locker room and eventually re-entered the game, though she did not play in the second half.
Without their superstar, the Huskies didn’t have the offensive firepower to mount a comeback after trailing by 17 at halftime and 16 in the fourth quarter. Lou Lopez Sénéchal did all she could with 21 points and Nika Mühl had 11 points. Aside from Edwards’ 14 points, nobody else had more than five points in the loss.
UConn shot just 37 percent from the floor while Notre Dame made 56 percent. The Irish also had a 46-16 advantage in points in the paint. Notre Dame star Olivia Miles went off for a game-high 21 points.
Neither team had much offense early on. UConn missed 10 of its first 12 shots while Notre Dame had as many shots as turnovers (four) through eight possessions. When Miles woke up, the Huskies had no answer. She scored 13 of the Irish’s 17 first quarter points to lead the hosts to a five-point lead through 10 minutes.
The gap only widened in the second quarter. UConn couldn’t generate any offense inside — it made only two shots inside the arc in the first half — and were torched on the defensive end. When the Huskies did find the basket, Notre Dame answered back immediately and held them without back-to-back scores in the second quarter.
After shooting 65 percent from the field in the first half, the Irish took a 41-24 advantage into the locker room.
After the break, Lopez Sénéchal got the Huskies going with a jumper and after trading baskets, they ripped off a 10-0 run to get back within single digits, 47-40. Sonia Citron temporarily stopped the bleeding with a jumper, but UConn came back with four-straight points to pull within five.
Notre Dame wouldn’t let the Huskies get any closer, though. From there, the hosts closed the third quarter on a 9-2 run and pushed its lead back to 11 points.
It didn’t get much better for UConn in the fourth. The Irish pushed the gap to 16 with seven minutes remaining and without Fudd, the Huskies simply didn’t have enough offense to catch up. In the end, Notre Dame walked away with a 14-point victory.
Next, UConn will return home to take on the Princeton Tigers on Thursday at Gampel Pavilion.