STORRS, Conn. (AP)Azzi Fudd overcame a poor shooting start to score 26 points and led No. 6 UConn to a season-opening 98-39 victory over Northeastern on Thursday night.
Fudd, a sophomore, missed her first seven 3-point tries but shot 9 for 17 overall, including 1 for 8 from long range, and 7 for 7 from the line. She added four assists and had six of UConn’s 18 steals.
”Azzi is more than a shooter,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ”She scores a lot of different ways. I was happy to see her be so aggressive with the ball. There are going to be a lot of games that whatever reason when the ball doesn’t go in and you need to find a way to put points on the board. I think the more she does that, the people are going to have to respect that she can do that.”
Aaliyah Edwards had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Lou Lopez Senechal added 17 points, including a four-point play. Dorka Juhasz finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds as UConn won its 27th straight season opener. UConn last opened a season with a loss on Nov. 19, 1995, falling to Louisiana Tech.
Gemima Motema had 11 points to lead Northeastern (1-1).
UConn’s first basket came on Nika Muhl’s 3-pointer 14 seconds into the game and never trailed.
Fudd had five points as part of a 15-0 run after Northeastern’s first basket, as UConn raced to a 22-3 lead and built a 51-19 advantage at halftime.
”I am really lucky to have teammates that keep encouraging me,” Fudd said. ”I think attacking and getting to the rim got me in that rhythm.”
Auriemma thought defensive intensity was the key to victory, despite scoring nearly 100 points.
”You are not going to score 43 points off turnovers on most nights,” Auriemma said. ”I thought the way we played, we were constantly pushing the pace. The way we were after some loose balls that were 50-50 balls that we came up with and I thought we were constantly pushing to the pace to the point where I actually had to tell them during one timeout to slow down.”
Northeastern didn’t have its first basket in the second half until Camille Clement hit a 3-pointer with four seconds left in the third quarter.
”Foul trouble got us tonight,” Northeastern coach Bridgette Mitchell said. ”I think that we struggled a little bit in that first half, but I think after halftime we came out and played a much better defensive game.”
UConn played without Paige Bueckers, Caroline Ducharme and freshman Ice Brady. Bueckers and Brady suffered season-ending knee injuries. Auriemma said that Ducharme is making progress with her neck injury, but was not cleared to return for the season opener.
Northeastern: Hosts Boston College on Wednesday.
UConn: Hosts No. 3 Texas on Monday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25