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UConn’s Azzi Fudd shakes off rust ahead of NCAA Tournament

Azzi Fudd is back on the court for UConn heading into the NCAA Tournament. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Every day, Azzi Fudd is getting back to being the player UConn needs in the NCAA Tournament. 

Fudd, who missed most of the regular season with a knee injury, but made her return in the Big East tournament and helped UConn to the title.

Speaking with the Hartford Courant, Fudd called the conference tournament “the first little intro” before adding that she’s “ready now” for the NCAA Tournament.

“I know she hasn’t played a lot of basketball recently, so a little bit at a time. And she’s looked really, really good in practice,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “You can still see there’s a little bit of rustiness there, which is natural. But like I said last year when we added Paige (Bueckers), I said, ‘I don’t know that anybody in the country all of a sudden is adding somebody of that caliber.’ Now we just have to obviously take advantage of it.”

The other Huskies, including Dorka Juhász, know what Fudd brings to the table, which is more than just a bit of breathing room on the bench.

“When we played the past three games, you could just tell how much we missed her,” Juhász said. “Having her back, we’re a whole different team.”

Fudd, meanwhile, is approaching this year’s March Madness with a “brand new perspective.”

“I think injuries definitely give you a brand new perspective on the game,” Fudd said. “On how much you love it, how much it means to you. It makes you work harder. That was my motivation all through my rehab processes both times, just remembering how much I want to play, having to sit there and see the whole team struggle at times knowing that I wanted to be able to contribute and not just have to suffer in silence on the side. 

“That was my motivation and I’m back, so now I’m doing everything I can to stay back and help the team win.”