‘Playing free,’ Azzi Fudd has UConn headed in the right direction

Connecticut's Azzi Fudd in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
By Charlotte Carroll Feb 15, 2022 4
Azzi Fudd FaceTimed her parents the day before UConn played at DePaul last month. Thanks to technology, Tim and Katie Fudd not only heard their daughter but also saw her excitement as she talked about her pending return to basketball.

“Seeing her on the screen, the lightness and the happiness that she had,” Katie said, “it was like just this bubbly little kid with no care in the world.”

Fudd’s parents had attended many Huskies games this season — even after their daughter was sidelined by a foot injury in late November. On this call, they waited to hear what was coming next. Fudd was elated about her improved status, but she wasn’t sure if she would play the next day. She would wait and decide after the shootaround. So, in hopes of her return, the Fudds booked Jan. 26 plane tickets to Chicago with little time to cancel if they received a text that she wasn’t playing. Fudd texted her parents on their way to the airport to let them know she indeed would play for the first time in two months. They continued their trip from the East Coast and were in the Wintrust Arena stands by tipoff.

Now seven games back into the lineup, the UConn freshman guard looks healthy and confident. As the Huskies navigate a constantly revolving door of available and injured players, Fudd is becoming a constant for UConn — one who provides a lot of joy, too. The Huskies are 6-1 since her return, and she has scored at least 24 points in three of the past four games. Her smooth shooting is finally on full display.

“That DePaul game was the first game where she felt close to 100 percent to be able to play,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said Sunday. “So the difference is in these games, since the DePaul game, she feels healthy.