Caroline Ducharme is inching closer to a return for UConn women’s basketball, while Azzi Fudd likely has a longer wait ahead of her.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma addressed both players’ statuses in the lead-up to Sunday’s loss against No. 1 South Carolina. While Fudd’s rehab has been going “great,” he said, there is still no timetable for her return.
“We’ll see what happens in the next week or so,” he said Wednesday. “But right now there’s nothing you can point to and say, ‘Here’s the date.’”
That, of course, came before UConn hung around in a heavyweight battle with the undefeated Gamecocks, which left the team with “a lot to feel good about,” Auriemma said — especially given the fact that the team was playing with just eight available players, as they have been for the last five games.
“I told them I feel better at 3 o’clock today than I did at 12 o’clock,” he said. “Because at 12 o’clock, I didn’t know how we would respond,” he said. “I knew we would play hard. We’ve been playing hard all year long. I knew we would compete like hell.
“But I didn’t know who was going to make a big play, who was going to get a big rebound, who was going to make a big shot. I know more now than I did at noon, and I feel better about my team.”
Ducharme, who is still in concussion protocol, warmed up with the team Sunday. But she wore earplugs on the sidelines during the game. She participated in practice Friday, though she was limited to “light contact.” If she reacts well to multiple days of practice, she could be in line to return this week.
“It’s progressing to a point where if she can get through a couple of practices in a row now in one piece, then either Wednesday or maybe next Saturday at Georgetown could possibly be a return for her,” Auriemma said. “It’s all a matter of how she responds after the workouts.
“During the workouts, it goes pretty good and then afterward sometimes it’s not so good and sometimes it is good,” he continued. “So, we’re trying to monitor that, and it’s really frustrating because you watch her out there and her range is even better than it’s ever been, her release is even quicker than it’s ever been.”