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UConn Huskies guard Paige Bueckers (5) on the sidelines during the women's college basketball game between the Butler Bulldogs and UConn Huskies on January 3, 2023, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN.
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Maybe this was only fair. A team with Azzi Fudd, Paige Bueckers, Aaliyah Edwards and Ice Brady on the court would have upended the competitive balance of college basketball. They would have been too powerful. To prevent UConn's extremely talented players from ever playing together at the same time, the universe has intervened to injure them all.

UConn announced last Friday that the Huskies' scheduled game against DePaul would not happen Sunday, because the team doesn't have the Big East-minimum seven healthy scholarship players required to play. They'll need at least one more healthy player back for their next game on Wednesday, against St. John's. Though stricter COVID protocols a couple of years ago made "not enough players to play" a fairly common occurrence in college sports, UConn's situation is something more peculiar: There is no contagion here, just regular old injuries. The Huskies are cursed.

The team knows it, too. Interim head coach Chris Dailey, one of the sport's best assistant coaches, told reporters about some of their curse-breaking approaches. "We've tried the sage burning, we've tried a lot of holy water. We've tried a lot of things and none of them have really seemed to work," she said. Dailey has been coaching the team for the last three weeks because the curse has also claimed head coach Geno Auriemma, who began feeling flu-like symptoms in late December, shortly after his mother's death, and has since missed four games with an illness. I would fear for Dailey's health next, except she already fell victim to the curse. In November, she fainted on the sideline before a game against North Carolina and was stretchered off the court.

Over at CT Insider, Maggie Vanoni's roundup of every bad thing that has happened to this team is quite incredible. It reaches back 15 months and includes forward Dorka Juhasz fracturing her wrist in last year's Elite Eight game, Fudd's stomach virus before the national championship game, Bueckers's ACL tear in a summer pickup game, Brady's season-ending patella injury in October, Fudd injuring her knee again in December, and Edwards falling into a bunch of chairs on the sideline and injuring her foot this past Thursday. Juhasz, a graduate student and veteran leader on the team, has had to explain to the Huskies' underclassmen that these are not normal trials. She said that she wonders about the curse's origins: "Did we do something bad? Is it karma?"

Even if UConn did do something bad, the curse has only been so effective. The Huskies sit at No. 4 in today's AP poll, with six straight wins and a 13-2 record.

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