No. 5 Texas’ Rori Harmon is out for the remainder of the season with an ACL tear, per a release from Texas Athletics. 

Harmon tore her ACL in practice on Dec. 27 and she did not play in that evening’s contest against Jackson State. 

The junior guard was named Big 12 preseason player of the year and she averaged 14.1 points and 7.8 assists per game in her 12 games played. 

“I’m grateful for the support of my teammates and coaching staff during this difficult time,” Harmon said in the press release. “I also want to thank our medical staff at Texas for taking care of me. I’m heartbroken that I won’t be able to play with my teammates this season, but I’m going to support them and be the best teammate I can be.”

Just Women’s Sports is tracking injuries to key players throughout the NCAA season and, when possible, outlining the timetables for their returns.

Out for the season

Azzi Fudd, UConn

Fudd is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and a torn meniscus in her right knee. She played just two games before injuring her knee in practice. Fudd is the second Huskies player in two years to miss the majority of the season with an ACL tear, following Paige Bueckers’ lost season in 2022-23.

Sa’Myah Smith, LSU

Smith will miss the rest of the season for No. 7 LSU with tears to the ACL, MCL and meniscus in her right knee. Smith, who appeared in just seven games this season, will be given a redshirt for the remainder of this season and will be able to get this year of eligibility back, per LSU Athletics.

Destinee Wells, Tennessee 

Tennessee senior point guard Destinee Wells is out for the rest of the season with a lower right leg injury, the program announced Tuesday.

A transfer from Belmont, Wells was seen with a brace on her right leg during the team’s win over Wofford. The news of her season-ending injury came on the same night senior forward Rickea Jackson returned from injury. Wells played in just 10 games this season.

Head coach Kelli Harper, who dealt with ACL tears twice in her playing career at Tennessee, understands well the pain of season-ending injuries. So she knows it will “be hard throughout the year” for Wells, who had averaged 6.8 points, 3.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 22.4 minutes per game.

Gianna Kneepkens, Utah

The star guard will miss the rest of the season after breaking multiple bones in her foot, the school announced on Dec. 4. An All-Pac-12 player and the team’s second-leading scorer, Kneepkens was injured late against BYU on Dec. 2 and had to be helped off the floor.

Utah head coach Lynne Roberts called Kneepkens’ injury a “blow to our program,” which is ranked No. 11 in the country at 7-1 as of Dec. 14.

“If there is a kid that eats, sleeps and breathes basketball, it is her. But this is part of life. Life can stink sometimes. This is going to be a process for her that she is going to have to push through,” Roberts said. “She has got a group of teammates and coaches who love her. She will be all right. It is still a little raw. The fact that the season is over for her, she is still working through that.”

Ayanna Patterson, UConn

UConn lost one more player for the season, as Ayanna Patterson was announced to miss the remainder of the season following knee surgery.

Patterson had not appeared in a game this season for the Huskies. Last season, she played 30 games, averaging just over two points and two rebounds. Head coach Geno Auriemma said the surgery was to address patellar tendinitis that Patterson has dealt with since high school.

Emily Bessoir, UCLA 

No. 2 UCLA’s Emily Bessoir is out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury. The senior injured the same ACL that sidelined her for the entirety of the 2021-2022 season while she was playing in the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2025 qualifiers for her native Germany.

While Bessoir has played in just one game for the Bruins this season due to her international duties, she appeared in all 37 games last season and she was selected to the Pac-12 All-Tournament team.

“I’m just heartbroken for Emily, for her and for us,” head coach Cori Close told the Associated Press. “She’s been such a steady leader for us and she had so many things going for her this year. I look forward to seeing how this is going to be part of her conquering story.”

Out with injury but expected to return

Olivia Miles, Notre Dame

Miles injured her knee in the Irish’s 2023 regular season finale. She was sidelined during the ACC Tournament and has remained so into this season. Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey provided a look into Miles’ recovery via Instagram, where she posted a video of Miles shooting around, though there remains no timetable for her return to action.

“She’s doing a lot of great workouts, and so just wanted to kind of just highlight her because she is she’s doing really, really well,” Ivey said to ABC 57. “She’s in great spirits, her knee looks really good.”

Caroline Ducharme, UConn

The junior guard played in No. 17 UConn’s first four games this season but she has been out since Nov. 19 with neck and back spasms. Ducharme has dealt with concussion issues in past seasons. On Dec. 1, head coach Geno Auriemma could not provide a timeline for her return to the team.

“Don’t ask me how long, because I wish I knew,” Auriemma told ESPN. “You don’t know when they’re coming and you don’t know how long they’re going to last. We just keep trying and trying and trying. . . I feel terrible for the kid.”

Sonia Citron, Notre Dame

Citron sustained an injury to her leg in the third quarter of the Irish’s game against Northwestern on Nov. 15. The junior guard needed help to return to the locker room after she was injured.

Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey had announced that Citron was dealing with a sprained knee and would be out for just a couple of weeks. But on Nov. 28, Ivey said Citron would need a few more weeks of recovery before she could return to the court.

Returned to the court

Rickea Jackson, Tennessee

Jackson, who had been out of Tennessee’s lineup since Nov. 13 with a lower leg injury, returned to the court on Dec. 19.

“She steps on the court and she changes things,” Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Her presence affects them when they step on the court. She gives them great confidence.”

UConn’s injury woes have continued into this season, and it’s led to the Huskies’ players and coach experiencing déjà vu from years past.

“It just kills me to watch us play sometimes,” head coach Geno Auriemma told reporters after practice on Friday.

Last month, star guard Azzi Fudd went down with an ACL and meniscus tear in her right knee that will sideline her for the rest of the season. Junior guard Caroline Ducharme, meanwhile, remains out with neck spasms, and her timeline for return remains unclear.

“Don’t ask me how long, because I wish I knew,” Auriemma said of Ducharme. “You don’t know when they’re coming and you don’t know how long they’re going to last. We just keep trying and trying and trying. … I feel terrible for the kid.”

Many had thought this year would be different. Paige Bueckers, the 2021 National Player of the Year, is back from the ACL tear that kept her sidelined last season. Fudd, who has dealt with injuries throughout her career, started the season fully healthy. Now, Fudd and Jana El Alfy, who tore her Achilles tendon in July, will both miss the rest of the season. Sophomore forward Ayanna Patterson is also out following an offseason knee surgery.

In their absence, UConn has lost two of their last three games, including an 80-68 defeat to Texas on Sunday. The 4-3 Huskies haven’t lost three games this early in the season since 1980.

“I think they were all anticipating that this year was going to be different, that this year all that was going away and that was all behind us. And the response, I think, has been like a real punch in the gut. Like, ‘I’ve got to do this again,’” Auriemma said. “Me seeing that and me seeing their frustration, and them seeing mine, I think it’s inevitable. You can’t hide it.

“And I probably have not handled it great internally, and probably externally at times, as well. And that’s my job is as an adult, to make sure that I handle it, make sure that I am in complete control of myself and that I’m able to [answer], ‘How do I get each individual through another season?’ Like anybody else you know, I don’t think anybody deserves to be in this situation as many times as we’ve been in it.”

After all the injuries UConn has dealt with in the past few years, senior guard Nika Mühl said Friday that she doesn’t “know any different.”

“I feel like that’s the only cards we’ve been dealt since I’ve been here,” Mühl said. “So overcoming adversity is not something unfamiliar to us.”

UConn basketball has had no shortage of injuries over the last three seasons.

Azzi Fudd’s season-ending knee injury represents just the latest blow to the Huskies’ lineup. The junior guard tore the ACL and meniscus in her right knee during practice on Nov. 14. And she’s not the only one sidelined for UConn, with Jana El Alfy having torn her Achilles tendon in July and Ayanna Patterson still out after an offseason knee surgery.

WNBA star Diamond DeShields asked on social media after Fudd’s injury: “Who the strength coach there …? Cuz WTF.” But Fudd’s father came to the defense of the program, noting that the injuries have “nothing to do with the strength coach” and are instead “the flukiest things I’ve ever seen.”

Just Women’s Sports lays out a timeline of the most significant injuries to UConn women’s basketball over the last three seasons.

2021-22 season:

Aubrey Griffin missed the entire season with a back injury, for which she underwent surgery in January 2022.

On Dec. 1, Fudd suffered a foot injury forced her out of the lineup for 11 games. It was the first major injury of Fudd’s career at UConn, though she had torn the ACL and MCL in her right knee in high school. And just four days later, UConn star Paige Bueckers suffered a tibial plateau fracture that kept her out of 19 games for the Huskies.

While the team remained relatively healthy through January and February. But come the postseason, Dorka Juhász fractured her wrist in the Elite Eight, which kept her out of the Final Four. UConn made the national championship game but lost to South Carolina.

2022-23 season:

UConn’s injury problems during the 2022-23 season can be summed up with one incident: The Huskies had to postpone their game against DePaul in early January due to a lack of healthy players.

It all started in August, when Bueckers tore her ACL, which caused her to miss the entirety of the season. Then, in October, freshman Ice Brady dislocated her patella tendon, which ended her season before it started.

Mere months after fracturing her wrist, Juhász suffered a broken thumb on Nov. 19, which kept her out of seven games. Then, on Dec. 4, Fudd suffered a knee injury that initially kept her out of nine games. She made her return in January, only to reinjure the same knee on Jan. 15 and miss an additional 13 games.

Meanwhile, Caroline Ducharme missed 14 games due to a concussion suffered on Jan. 3. Given that the team struggled with injuries all season, UConn never could find a groove and bowed out of the NCAA tournament in the Sweet 16 – the Huskies’ first time not making the Elite Eight since 2005.

2023-24 season:

To start the new season, UConn is still without Patterson, who had surgery on her knee in the offseason. And both El Alfy and Fudd are out for year. Plus Caroline Ducharme has missed the team’s last two games with neck and back spasms, with no timeline for her return as of Dec. 1.

The No. 11 Huskies are 4-2 to start the season, with a top-25 battle against No. 10 Texas up next at 3 p.m. ET Sunday on ABC.

Azzi Fudd’s family couldn’t quite believe it when she told them that she had torn her ACL and would miss the rest of the season for UConn basketball.

“I was in a state of devastation for her,” her father Tim Fudd told CT Insider. “She’s worked so hard to get herself right and to have this now happen again, it’s like, ‘Dang, like, she has worst luck with stuff in this.’

“We felt like she had gotten over these stupid injuries and like all of a sudden, she calls and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh. What is it? Why does this keep happening?’”

Fudd tore the ACL and meniscus in her right knee during practice on Nov. 14. So after playing just two games for the Huskies, Fudd will miss the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

The No. 1 recruit in the class of 2021, Fudd has struggled with injuries throughout her three years at UConn. A foot injury in her freshman season kept her out of 11 games, and a knee injury last season had her absent from 22 games.

And Fudd is not the only UConn player to struggle with injuries over the last two seasons. Paige Bueckers tore her ACL and missed her junior season before returning for the 2023-24 campaign. Freshman Ice Brady also missed last season with an injury. And that’s not accounting for the time missed by other players throughout last season; at one point, UConn had to postpone a game due to a lack of available players.

And with Fudd and Jana El Alfy out for this season, the injuries have raised questions about the Huskies’ support staff. WNBA star Diamond DeShields posted on social media after Fudd’s injury: “Who the strength coach there …? Cuz WTF.”

But Tim Fudd quickly came to the defense of Andrea Hudy, the director of sports performance for UConn women’s basketball.

“It has nothing to do with the strength coach,” he tweeted Friday. “She is actually really good. These injuries are the flukiest things I’ve ever seen. Things have occurred that you would see in some rare occasions.”

Hudy and the UConn staff have been focusing on limiting injury risks through different pre-rehabilitation workouts and data studies on each individual athlete. The Fudds met up with Hudy in the Cayman Islands to discuss how best to help Azzi moving forward.

“You can’t control every scenario, right?” Azzi’s mother Katie Fudd told CT Insider. “You can prepare their bodies but there’s nothing you can do to manipulate situations to keep everyone safe but there’s nothing you can do to manipulate situations to keep everyone safe and healthy. You know, it’s kind of like driving down the street. You might be the best driver in the world, but you can’t control a bad driver, right?

“She (Azzi) really likes Hudy and really trusts her. And we do too. I think she’s taking the time to get to know us and let us get to know her a little bit so that we have that trust and respect. And we’re confident that they’re gonna get her where she needs to be. I don’t have any doubts about that.”

No. 2 UCLA beat No. 6 UConn basketball for the first time in the history of the program on Friday night, 78-67 — not for Paige Bueckers’ lack of trying. 

Despite the Huskies receiving their second loss of the season at the Cayman Islands Classic, Bueckers performed exceedingly well. But even with her multiple team-leading outings, UConn has earned its second double-digit loss this season, its most in its first five games since the 1991-92 slate. 

The Huskies’ struggles are best summed up by their head coach Geno Auriemma: “You can’t beat a really good team with one player.”

Bueckers’ 31 points against the Bruins came in at just under half of her squad’s total on the night. The senior guard is a consistent high-scorer, but without Azzi Fudd and Caroline Ducharme in the lineup, UConn is going to need more. 

“It was disappointing that we didn’t get more contributions from more people. Our combinations are all screwed up right now, so that’s got to get sorted out. We struggled, we had our runs, we just didn’t have enough,” Auriemma said. 

Aubrey Griffin went off on a few runs to register a good performance for the Huskies. She clocked 11 points, seven rebounds, four steals and a block. 

“The way Aubrey played for long stretches in that game, that’s how she’s got to start the game,” Auriemma said. “Aubrey needs to do it before we get down 15 points. That’s the issue with some of our players, they just take a long time to get going.”

No other UConn players had notable performances against the Bruins. Even Aaliyah Edwards, the Huskies highest scorer last season, struggled in the Cayman Islands. She went 2-12 before fouling out late in the game. 

“Basically, UCLA defended one player and was content to let anyone else have any shot they wanted and they didn’t make any,” Auriemma said. “… Other people are going to have to step up and have to make shots. We have to find a way to get some sort of cohesiveness on offense, we look disjointed a lot of times. I’ve got to fix that.”

UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma has dealt with a number of injuries to his squad over the last two years, including the most recent — Azzi Fudd, who is out the remainder of the year with an ACL tear.

The school announced the news on Wednesday, noting that Fudd will have surgery at a later date. Fudd has dealt with injuries over her first two college seasons, including missing two months due to a foot injury in her freshman season and dealing with a number of knee injuries during her sophomore season.

She played just two games before suffering her latest knee injury. In a release, Auriemma said the team is “so upset for Azzi.” And on Thursday, he was at a loss for words over the team’s injury woes.

Caroline Ducharme will miss the team’s Friday game against UCLA with neck spasms. Jana El Alfy is out for the year with an Achilles injury and Ayanna Patterson is still recovering from an offseason knee procedure.

“It just sucks every year to look down and see who’s not playing. It’s just gotten overbearing. I mean, I can’t even explain it,” Auriemma told CT Insider from the Cayman Islanders on Thursday. “Some of these kids, man, that’s all they know. They don’t know anything about playing with a full team.”

There’s currently no timeline for Patterson’s return, and it’s unclear if Ducharme will be able to play on Saturday against Kansas.

“I get to the point where I don’t have words,” Auriemma told CT Insider. “I can’t explain the frustration that you have for them; frustrated for them and how much they want to play, frustrated for your team and their teammates. They’re constantly having to play short-handed.

“And it’s not fair to them. And as a coaching staff, there’s only so many answers you can have. There are times when it gets so hard to see a way out of it. It takes a lot of perseverance from the coaches and the players.”

Azzi Fudd will miss the rest of the season for UConn basketball with ACL and meniscal tears in her right knee.

The junior guard played two games to start the Huskies’ season before suffering the noncontact knee injury during practice on Nov. 14. Fudd will have surgery at UConn Health at a later date, the program announced in a news release.

“We’re all just so upset for Azzi,” head coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. “She worked hard to be healthy for this season, and it’s unfortunate when you put in a lot of hard work and have a setback like this.”

After Fudd’s sophomore season at St. John’s College High School (D.C.), she tore the ACL and MCL in her right knee while playing in a U-18 tournament with USA Basketball.

Over her first two college seasons, Fudd has been in and out of the Huskies’ lineup with injuries. She missed two months due to a foot injury in her freshman season, though she averaged 12.1 points in the 25 games she did play. She dealt with multiple knee injuries during her sophomore season, averaging 15.1 points in just 15 games.

While Fudd entered her junior season with high hopes, she played in just two games before suffering her latest knee injury. UConn has won two games without her in the lineup and will have to navigate the rest of the 2023-24 season without her.

“Azzi loves the game and works tirelessly,” Auriemma said. “I’m confident she’ll rehab with the same work ethic and come back better than ever. We’ll obviously miss her presence on the court, but Azzi will continue to be a great teammate and important part of this team this season. Our program will support Azzi through her recovery however we can.”

No. 6 UConn (3-1) will face No. 2 UCLA (4-0) in its next game at 7:30 p.m. ET Friday.

UConn guard Azzi Fudd was on the sidelines for the eighth-ranked Huskies’ 80-48 win over No. 20 Maryland on Thursday. Head coach Geno Auriemma confirmed that Fudd suffered a non-contact knee injury during practice on Tuesday.

In a team release, UConn said it will provide more information “at a later date” after Fudd undergoes testing. Auriemma, meanwhile, said that Fudd has been dealing with some swelling in her knee, which could delay the testing. The program is holding out hope, he said, that “this one might be minor” after Fudd felt something was off following a shot in practice.

“Just random stuff,” Auriemma said.

The No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2021, Fudd has dealt with injuries throughout her collegiate career. As a freshman, she missed 10 games with a foot injury. Last year as a sophomore, she missed 22 games with right knee injuries.

Prior to stepping on campus, Fudd tore the ACL and MCL in her right knee.

The injury has UConn fans feeling a sense of déjà vu. Paige Bueckers, the 2021 National Player of the Year, missed all of last season with an ACL tear. The year prior, she was sidelined 19 games with a separate knee injury. Forward Ice Brady also missed her freshman year in 2022-23 with a knee injury.

As a team, UConn dealt with unprecedented injuries last season, even forcing them to postpone a conference game in January because they didn’t have seven available players.

“We’ve always handled it really, really, really well,” Auriemma said. “We’ve always been pretty resilient. For us to win 31 games last year, given what we went through, they respond, they don’t pout. They really don’t.

“So when I said, ‘Hey, we’re just going to have to figure this one out — for however long this is, whether it’s today, tomorrow, at least through Saturday, and then we’ll see what happens after that – it changes your rotation, obviously. It changes maybe the way you want to play. It certainly changes your offense.”

Bueckers noted that, while it’s impossible to replace Fudd, the team will have to find a way to make up for her absence.

“Nobody’s going to be Azzi, but we can all do stuff that contributes to filling her void and making sure that we’re accounting for her and doing all the little things,” she said.

UConn’s roster continues to work its way back to full strength, with Ice Brady set to make her debut for the Huskies after missing her entire freshman season with a dislocated kneecap.

Brady entered her freshman year as the fifth-ranked recruit in the nation, and buzz is building around her return, especially as the Huskies look to fill out their frontcourt.

“Now don’t get me wrong, she hasn’t played college basketball and there’s some issues that are going to rise and all that,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma told CT Insider. “But anytime a kid can make shots from the perimeter, score in the lane, (is a) really good passer; she just has that kind of game.”

Had Brady been healthy, she likely would have started her freshman season competing for minutes off the bench. But she would have been a big boost in an injury-riddled year for the Huskies.

“Ice is a great player. I was so excited for her to play last year so this year I’m even more excited,” Azzi Fudd said. “… She’d always be worried about what this year would look like for her, and I would tell her, ‘You’re gonna be the same player if not better than when you got hurt.’”

The injury helped Brady become closer with star guard Paige Bueckers, who missed the season with a torn ACL. With the return of the 2021 National Player of the year grabbing headlines, Brady has “flown under the radar,” Bueckers said.

But Fudd, who was Brady’s roommate all of last year, says the redshirt freshman has come back “better than I remember.”

Azzi Fudd will not be entering the 2024 WNBA Draft.

Speaking with ESPN’s Rebecca Lobo, Fudd was asked point-blank if she planned on leaving UConn after the 2023-24 season. Since Fudd turns 22 in November 2024, she is eligible for that year’s WNBA Draft. The UConn guard had a definitive answer.

“I plan on staying,” she said. “Why would I want to leave the basketball capital of the world?”

Fudd isn’t the only player to stay with her college team despite early draft eligibility.

Last year, Cameron Brink opted to forgo the WNBA Draft and stay at Stanford despite being eligible for the 2023 draft. “It’s fun, college is fun,” she said last October. “Why not stay?”

Caitlin Clark, who has an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is undecided on her future at Iowa, though she has said that she’s going to “treat this year like this is my last year.”

“It’s really not something I think about every single day,” Clark said in early October. “It’s not something I let weigh on me. I’m focused on helping this team be the best team they can be, and when I know that decision, all of you will know. I think the biggest thing will be I’m just going to trust my gut and go with that.”

There are also questions about whether redshirt junior guard Paige Bueckers will leave for the draft. The UConn star, who missed the majority of the last two seasons due to injuries, has remained noncommittal about her future. 

“I guess we’ll see,” she said when asked about her future with UConn, as CT Insider’s Maggie Vanoni reported from the first practice of the season for the Huskies.

Her answer was similar in March when asked about staying at UConn beyond 2024. She is entering her fourth season with the Huskies, but she could stay through 2026.

“There’s always a chance,” she said. “I have three more years of eligibility. I’m not declining, not saying for sure I will or for sure I won’t. But there’s definitely an opportunity for me to return for a fifth year, even maybe a sixth year.”