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UConn coach Geno Auriemma singles out Azzi Fudd’s ‘special’ talent

UConn guard Azzi Fudd has been key to the team's success this season. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Azzi Fudd is impressing Geno Auriemma.

The sophomore guard will likely be the centerpoint of UConn’s offense this season as junior Paige Bueckers will miss the season with an ACL injury. She had surgery in early August.

Fudd averaged 12.1 points per game for the Huskies last season after entering the 2021-22 campaign as the No. 1 recruit in the country. She shot 43% from the 3-point line and 91.2% from the free-throw line.

Fudd missed 11 games last year with a nagging foot injury, but according to Auriemma, she’s finally at full strength. Not only that, but Fudd’s skills have improved as well.

“I would say based on one week of practice, Azzi’s as good as anybody we’ve had at this point in every area of the game,” he told reporters Tuesday. “She’s just so much better than last year at this time. She’s healthy and she can do some pretty special things.”

That’s high praise considering the caliber of players Auriemma has coached during his 37 years at the helm for the Huskies. Past players include Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Napheesa Collier, Diana Taurasi and Rebecca Lobo – a select few on a long list of WNBA players and record holders.

Fudd was a key piece to the UConn puzzle last year as the team navigated injuries – including another to Bueckers that kept her out from early December until February 25.

Fudd hit her stride in February, when she recorded nine double-digit scoring totals in 10 games for the Huskies. A highlight came on Feb. 6, when she scored 25 points to lead UConn past No. 7 Tennessee 75-56.

In the NCAA tournament, Fudd helped her squad past NC State in the Final Four, scoring 19 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in a 91-87 double-overtime victory.

The guard was named to the 2022 All-Big East Freshman Team.