Fudd, No. 8 UConn women surge in 4th quarter, top Marquette
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Azzi Fudd continued the second-half surge to her freshman year by bouncing back from a rare off-night and helping UConn break open a close game.
Fudd scored 24 points and sparked a fourth-quarter surge that broke open a close game as the eighth-ranked Huskies beat Marquette 72-58 on Sunday. Fudd has scored at least 24 points in three of her last four games.
“It’s really just my teammates having confidence in me and continually reminding me to shoot the ball and believing in me,” Fudd said.
Dorka Juhasz added 21 points as UConn (17-5, 11-1 Big East) won its second straight since its 169-game conference winning streak ended with a 72-69 home loss to Villanova. The Huskies trounced DePaul 84-60 on Friday.
But this victory wasn’t easy.
UConn trailed much of the way before outscoring Marquette 24-9 over the final nine minutes. Fudd scored 10 of her 24 points in the fourth quarter.
Rated as the nation’s No. 1 prospect in her class, Fudd missed 11 games this season with a foot injury before returning to action Jan. 26 at DePaul.
She made her first career start Feb. 6 and scored 25 points against then-No. 7 Tennessee. She followed that up with 29 against Villanova before getting held to four points against DePaul.
Fudd regained her shooting accuracy Sunday by going 4 of 6 on 3-point attempts but proved she also can effectively drive to the basket.
“I think she’s proven that she’s more than just a prolific 3-point shooter,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “Even in the DePaul game the other night when she didn’t make shots, if you watch the film, she played great defense. She passed the ball. She rebounded. I think Azzi, there’s a misconception people have that she just stands there and makes 3′s all day long. She’s so much more than that.”
Marquette led 49-48 with nine minutes left before UConn scored six straight points to grab a 54-49 advantage, the first time since late in the first quarter that either team had led by more than three. Fudd’s basket with 8:40 left put the Huskies ahead for good.
The Golden Eagles (17-7, 10-5) got the margin down to three, but UConn responded with 12 straight points to put the game away. Fudd scored the first eight points in that 12-0 spurt.
Marquette had seven turnovers and only three baskets in the fourth quarter.
“We’re extremely disappointed about the way we played those last five minutes,” Marquette coach Megan Duffy said. “I thought we were tough. Our defense was really good. And we just didn’t have enough toward the end.”
Liza Karlen scored 15 points, Jordan King had 14 and Karissa McLaughlin added 10 for Marquette, which lost its second straight. The Golden Eagles fell 74-63 in overtime at Villanova on Friday.
“Obviously this weekend was tough,” Karlen said. “But we’re going to bounce back.”
Evina Westbrook scored 15 points and Christyn Williams had 10 for UConn.
UConn played a third straight game without third-leading scorer Caroline Ducharme and fourth-leading scorer Olivia Nelson-Ododa. Ducharme has a head injury and Nelson-Ododa is dealing with a groin injury.
The Huskies have been missing 2020-21 national player of the year Paige Bueckers since early December as she recovers from a fractured left leg and meniscus tear in her left knee.
UConn: The Huskies’ injuries are making these conference games tougher than usual but also have enabled other players to step up. Juhasz scored a season-high 22 points against DePaul after managing just two points in the loss to Villanova.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles’ fourth-quarter fade capped a tough weekend that started with a tough loss at Villanova. Those two missed opportunities could prove crushing for a team that’s on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Now the Golden Eagles play four straight road games.
Even after winning its last two games, UConn could fall out of the top 10 again after its loss to Villanova. UConn’s streak of 305 straight weeks in the top 10 ended in late December, but the Huskies had since worked their way back into the top 10.
UConn: At Xavier on Friday.
Marquette: At DePaul on Wednesday.
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