With Paige Bueckers watching from the sideline, UConn faced a stiff early-season test on Monday against No. 3 Texas.
It passed, convincingly. The fifth-ranked Huskies cruised to an 83-76 win at home in a one of the early season's marquee matchups.
Sophomore Azzi Fudd took on the starring role out of the backcourt with a dominant scoring effort, posting 32 points and four assists while shooting 12 of 20 from the field. A preseason All-Big East team member, she'll be counted on to carry a big load with Bueckers sidelined for the season.
Can Huskies compete for title without Bueckers?
Bueckers tore the ACL in her left knee during a summer pickup game. UConn ruled her out for the season in August. The injury to the former Naismith National Player of the Year was obviously a significant blow to UConn's hopes of winning its first national championship since 2016. But the cupboard is far from bare in Storrs, as evidenced by Monday's win.
Aaliyah Edwards and Caroline Ducharme were likewise voted to the preseason All-Big East team. Edwards finished with 10 points and eight rebounds against the Longhorns while Ducharme saw limited action in a 2-point effort off the bench thanks to a nagging neck injury that sidelined her in UConn's season-opener against Northeastern.
Texas jumped out to a 19-18 first-quarter lead in a game that was back-and-forth until late in the second quarter. The Huskies rode an 8-0 run to a 38-32 edge with 2:21 left in the half, and they never relinquished the lead from there. UConn outscored Texas by seven in the third quarter and opened up a lead as large as 77-60 midway through the fourth quarter before the Longhorns cut their deficit in the final minutes. But the Huskies were never threatened in the second half of a game UConn controlled.
Senior guard Sonya Morris led the Texas effort with 21 points, two rebounds and two steals while hitting 5-of-10 3 pointers.
The Huskies will have plenty more early opportunities to test themselves with upcoming matchups against No. 10 N.C. State, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 19 Maryland and No. 20 Creighton all before the calendar turns to 2023.