UConn survives rollercoaster of emotions to beat NC State in instant classic
The Huskies overcame a horrific injury and three blown chances to secure a win at the end of regulation and overtime to advance to the Final Four.
With just over six minutes left in the second quarter, Dorka Juhász grabbed an offensive rebound and got fouled as she tried to go to the basket. She fell backward and put her arms out to catch herself.
As Juhász hit the ground, it immediately became apparent something was seriously wrong. She grabbed her left arm and screamed out in pain as the crowd at Total Mortgage Arena went silent while her teammates frantically waved to the bench for the team trainer.
Juhász suffered a fractured and dislocated wrist — a gruesome injury that shook the Huskies to their core.
“It was one of those that you've seen it before on TV and it's not pretty,” Geno Auriemma said postgame.
The coach himself didn’t see firsthand what happened since it all occurred on the opposite side of the court from him, but the players on the floor had a front-row view. As Juhász was taken into the locker room, the Huskies were visibly emotional with some players crying and others covering their faces with a towel.
“They had a chance to see it up close. I didn't, but they did,” Auriemma said. “So they were pretty shook up about it, you could see it in their faces.”
Play resumed shortly afterward, so the Huskies had to move persevere. NC State scored the next four points to cut the lead down to five points but Azzi Fudd got UConn settled back in with a jumper to push it back to seven.
“I think having been through all the things that we have been through and knowing that we're in the middle of a game right now, I think they've refocused pretty well,” Auriemma said.
In fact, UConn turned a moment that easily could’ve derailed the season into extra motivation to keep it going.
“Obviously, it's always hard to see a teammate go down like that, especially in the middle of the game,” Christyn Williams said. “Coach got us together and basically just told us the biggest thing we could do for her was win the game and win it for her. That was just our mentality for the rest of the game.”
As it turned out, Juhász’s injury was only the first in a number of twists and turns during the Huskies’ thrilling double-overtime win over NC State.