Welcome to the UConn WBB Weekly, a recap of everything that happened in the world of UConn women’s basketball over the past week.
The Weekly is a newsletter! Subscribe to get it in your inbox every Thursday at 7 a.m. before it hits the site.
From the UConn WBB Weekly Premium:
- Mailbag: Can UConn still be ‘nasty’ without Paige Bueckers at 100%?
- Opponent Preview: No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers
- Game Preview: Inside Indiana’s plan to upset UConn
- UConn unravels Indiana’s game plan to advance to Elite Eight
- Opponent Preview: No. 1 NC State
- Game Preview: UConn still trying to find the right balance with Bueckers
- UConn survives rollercoaster of emotions to beat NC State in instant classic
- How will Dorka Juhász’s injury impact UConn going forward?
From The UConn Blog:
- Chasing Perfection: UConn heading to the Final Four (again)
- Dorka Juhász out for the season after fracturing and dislocating wrist
- Story stream: 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament
Sweet Sixteen coverage
- UConn out to prove shaky second round performance was an anomaly
- Sweet Sixteen: UConn women’s basketball defeats No. 3 Indiana, 75-58
- UConn women’s basketball rides third quarter surge past Indiana and into the Elite Eight
- Photo gallery: Indiana Hoosiers vs UConn women’s basketball (NCAA Sweet Sixteen)
Elite Eight coverage
- UConn relying on seniors as it prepares for the “most challenging game of the year”
- Elite Eight: UConn women’s basketball takes down NC State, 91-87
- ‘We have Paige Bueckers and they don’t’: The takeover that sent UConn to the Final Four
- Christyn Williams throws the first punch in Elite Eight win over NC State
- Photo gallery: UConn women’s basketball vs NC State Wolfpack (NCAA Elite Eight)
Last week’s Weekly:
Azzi Fudd is more than just a shooter
From the moment Azzi Fudd stepped on campus, Geno Auriemma has emphasized that although the most impressive aspect of her game is her 3-point shot, she’s not just a shooter.
“She’s a hell of a basketball player. A lot of people probably don’t know that because they’ve seen her shoot the ball, and that’s become kind the thing,” Auriemma said. “But if they watch her every day, they realize what a hell of a basketball player she is in almost every area.”
But for much of her freshman season, Fudd hadn’t shown that. 58.7 percent of her shots have been from beyond the arc, compared to 36.1 percent for Christyn Williams or 28.1 percent for Paige Bueckers. In 16 of Fudd’s 23 games, over half her shots have been 3-pointers.
That held true in UConn’s Sweet Sixteen win over Indiana, where she had just one attempt inside the arc. But that changed dramatically in the Huskies’ next contest against NC State. Fudd played a key role in helping UConn advance past the Wolfpack and get to the Final Four with 19 points while playing a team-high 49 minutes.
Most notably, only five of her 17 attempts were from three. Fudd showcased her game in full with a few deadly pull-up jumpers from the free throw line, an impressive drive to the rim in which she went under the basket and put it off the glass, and hit a couple huge free throws at the end of the first overtime to extend the lead to three. She also grabbed five rebounds — tied for the second-most in her career — dished two assists and didn’t turn the ball over once.
That’s not to say Fudd’s 3-point shooting isn’t important, though. Through four NCAA Tournament games, she leads the team in minutes played precisely because of her ability to turn a game on its head in the blink of an eye.
“That’s why she plays so many minutes. Because you’re just really confident that in a three minute span, she might make four of those (threes) and the game goes from a three-point game to a 14-point game. Who knows? But you keep waiting for that moment.”
Fudd has quickly become one of the Huskies most important players and someone they rely on heavily despite the fact that she’s only a freshman. She’s one of three players to average double-figures in the NCAA Tournament at 14.3 points per game and is UConn’s go-to free throw shooter at the end of games.
“You want her to touch in the ball when it’s time to make free throws,” Auriemma said. “She doesn’t shoot free throws like a freshman under pressure.”
If UConn is to earn the two wins needed this weekend to become national champions, Fudd will need to play a crucial role. The freshman isn’t just a shooter, but the Huskies will still need her to use that element of her game to finally snap their title drought.
Best of social media
Huge viewership numbers for UConn-NC State:
2M viewers watched Monday's @PackWomensBball @UConnWBB thriller— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) March 29, 2022
Most-watched #NCAAWBB game of 2022
Best Elite 8 women's audience since 2006#MarchMadness on ESPN networks:
Elite 8 averaged 1.5M viewers
Thru Elite 8 (53 games) - viewership is up 11% pic.twitter.com/kjjZY2bbVM
The Huskies made it Minneapolis:
The Huskies are in Minneapolis! pic.twitter.com/L1aO1LvBYu— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) March 30, 2022
Nice moment during UConn’s sendoff on Tuesday:
Minutes after the players boarded the bus they pointed out to a little boy in a wheelchair. They all came back off the bus and the boy’s mom put him on her shoulders as the team came around to say hi before getting back on the bus pic.twitter.com/UJ9pDrz5Sw— Maggie Vanoni (@maggie_vanoni) March 29, 2022
The trophy made it back safe and sound:
UConn made sure its regional trophy was safe on the trip back pic.twitter.com/ZFDI8ggQEw— Daniel Connolly (@DanielVConnolly) March 29, 2022
UConn and Final Fours — a match made in heaven:
History was made on Monday night:
According to @ESPNStatsInfo, this is the first double overtime game in Elite Eight (or later) in NCAA women's tournament history— Alexa Philippou (@alexaphilippou) March 29, 2022
You’ll never unsee this:
You can’t tell me that Geno Auriemma doesn’t resemble the Old Man from Up pic.twitter.com/tawzjlNljq— Bri Lewerke (@brilewerke) March 26, 2022