clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UConn WBB Weekly: How the Huskies’ language skills help with team bonding

The Huskies’ global players are teaching their teammates how to speak Croatian, Hungarian, French, and Spanish.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

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:

From The UConn Blog:

Last week’s Weekly:


‘My favorites are the bad words’: How foreign vulgarities are bringing the Huskies together

Last week, UConn posted a video of Nika Mühl mic’d up during the team’s summer workouts that featured a quick interaction between she and Dorka Juhász on the sidelines.

“How to curse in Croatian,” Mühl said to Juhász. “Tell ‘em what you know.”

Juhász bent over to the microphone and let out a bleeped-out sentence.

The clip displayed the multi-lingual nature of the Huskies but more specifically, it highlighted one of the team’s favorite pastimes: swearing in those languages.

“They all know it,” Mühl said about the team’s knowledge of Croatian curse words. “I can’t say it but they all know it.”

Croatian is one of five languages spoken on the team. Juhász speaks Hungarian while Lou Lopez Sénéchal speaks Spanish and French. Throughout the summer, Mühl, Juhász, and Lopez Sénéchal have helped teach their monolingual teammates a few words here and there — though certain ones stick more than others.

“I know all the bad stuff. I don’t really know the good stuff,” Juhász said about Croatian with a laugh. “I know what they taught me on the court.”

“My favorites are the bad words,” Fudd said, “so I don’t want to get in trouble.”

Caroline Ducharme knows a couple of words, though she had trouble remembering anything beyond hello in Hungarian when asked. She’s well aware of what’s going on, though.

“I can tell when they’re swearing in Croatian or Hungarian because they get more aggressive,” she said.

Jokes aside, there is actual language learning that goes on and nobody takes it more seriously than Fudd. The sophomore first got Hungarian lessons from Juhász and when Lopez Sénéchal arrived, she also started to learn French. Fudd takes detailed notes on her phone and then tries to use the two languages when she can.

“Azzi has notes in her phone. It’s like ‘Hungarian: This is what it means, how you pronounce it’ and now that Lou came,” she’s doing it with French, Juhász explained. “She’s actually invested in learning. So even in practice she would say Hungarian stuff [and I’m] like, ‘Oh, okay, like she’s actually interested in learning,’ which is fun.”

Fudd even catches Juhász off-guard sometimes when she uses Hungarian during practice.

“We say pass, but it’s like pass pass (pronounced poss poss in Hungarian) so she was just like, ‘Poss!’. And I was like, ‘What?’” Juhász said. “It’s funny because I’m assuming somebody is gonna speak English.”

Fudd says she’s always been interested in learning new languages. She took Spanish in school growing up but now enjoys the challenge of trying to pick up Hungarian and French.

“I’ve always like admired how overseas they kind of are forced to learn English...they’re trilingual and stuff, I think that’s so cool,” Fudd said.

So far, she’s further along with Hungarian than French since she had all of last year with Juhász while Lopez Sénéchal only just arrived. That hasn’t dissuaded Fudd from trying, though.

“I’m actually pretty good at (Hungarian),” she said. “The French with Lou is not going too well. That’s pretty hard for me. But she started teaching me a couple weeks ago and I was actually doing that with her on the car ride here.”

However, Four languages is enough for Fudd. She’s heard Mühl speak Croatian and decided that’s not a path she wants to venture down.

“Croatian, if you hear her speak on the phone — that’s hard,” Fudd said.

But for all the languages on the team, there’s one the players haven’t heard: Italian, the native tongue of head coach Geno Auriemma. It doesn’t look like that’ll change anytime soon, either.

“No, he doesn’t really [speak Italian],” Juhász said. “I always try to send him funny Italian gifs or something that like but he doesn’t really want to teach us.”

Best of social media

UConn held a clinic at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield this past week:

There was a reunion of Huskies at Mohegan Sun on Friday:

Highlights of KK Arnold, one of UConn’s 2023 commits:

Tina Charles is in a league of her own: