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UConn women’s basketball: Aubrey Griffin undecided on future; Caroline Ducharme nearing return

Griffin won’t participate in senior day, but declined to say whether she’ll return to UConn next season.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

With four years in Storrs under her belt, Aubrey Griffin is UConn women’s basketball’s longest-tenured player. But even though she has two years of collegiate eligibility remaining, the redshirt junior said on Tuesday that she has not made a decision about her plans for next season.

“I’m really blessed to be here,” Griffin told reporters. “I’m just taking it day-by-day and I don’t really think about the future too much. I just stay present, next game — focus on that.”

Griffin will graduate with a Women’s Studies degree in May but she won’t participate in senior day. Still, there are plenty of options to choose from. She could return to the Huskies for her fifth year, she could enter the transfer portal and play somewhere else without sitting out, she could declare for the WNBA Draft or — in an unlikely scenario — she could decide to end her basketball career and move on to the next phase of her life.

For now, that decision is on hold.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day like I said,” Griffin reiterated.

While the redshirt junior was mum on the topic, Geno Auriemma seemed to think she’ll be back at UConn next year.

“Aubrey had said pretty much, ‘No senior day for me. I think I need to be back here another year,’” the coach relayed.

Griffin missed the entire 2021-22 campaign with a combination of leg, ankle and back injuries, culminating with season-ending back surgery in January. This year, she’s been one of UConn’s biggest breakout players, averaging 14 points, 6.9 rebounds, 57.8 percent shooting and 32.8 minutes — all of which are career-highs. Auriemma believes losing an entire season to injury could help pull her back for at least another year — and he made it clear she’d be welcomed back.

“Missing that whole year of basketball, it’s a lot,” he said. “Plus, it’s pretty comfortable here, too. Going out into the real world — I think unless you absolutely have to — it’s not a bad place to hang out.”

Caroline Ducharme nearing return

After missing the last 13 games while in concussion protocol, Caroline Ducharme is making tangible progress and could be back in action soon. On Tuesday, the sophomore participated in the early portion of practice open the media and did so without a non-contact jersey on.

“Up to now you know she’s been with the guys who are road workers, you know? They have the neon [vests] on, she’s got the neon pinny on to make sure nobody goes near her. But that came off and she’s getting closer and closer to playing,” Auriemma said.

Ducharme is also ramping up her workload, with Monday being “the most time that she spent in practice,” according to the coach. It’s still unclear if she’ll play on Wednesday against Creighton, though.

“Whether [Ducharme plays] tomorrow, I don’t know,” Auriemma said. “I’ll probably know more today or know tomorrow after shoot around how she feels.”

Still no timetable for Azzi Fudd

Although Ducharme is clearly progressing in the right direction, Auriemma didn’t have much of an update on Azzi Fudd, who’s been out for nine games since re-injuring her right knee on Jan. 15.

“She’s out there working out. She’s out there doing stuff. Morgan [Valley]’s got her doing a bunch of stuff. She’s doing some non-contact things. But I don’t — as of right now — have a return date. I wish I did.”