That title game was the final head-to-head matchup between two of the most accomplished players to emerge from this area in recent years, with Fudd, an Arlington native, scoring a game-high 32 points to help the Cadets pull away in the fourth quarter for a 66-51 victory.
“We go back even before that,” Fudd said of her relationship with Brown-Turner, who grew up in Oxon Hill and was Gatorade’s Maryland player of the year in 2019. “She’s a really good player, and I’m excited to play [Monday] and bring those memories back.”
Brown-Turner would rather forget her last game against Fudd after the Mustangs were unable to preserve a fourth-quarter lead and fell agonizingly short of claiming their first WCAC title since 2008. The next year, Brown-Turner arrived in Raleigh, NC, amid much acclaim, and her performance validated all of it. She was voted to the ACC all-freshman team and finished fourth in program among history freshmen in three-point shooting percentage (36.8).
“It just shows that the WCAC is a great conference,” Brown-Turner said of her and Fudd getting another opportunity to face each other. “I’m definitely biased, but I think it’s the best conference in the country.”
Brown-Turner, whose former McNamara teammate Aliyah Matharu is a top reserve at Texas, the No. 2 seed in the Spokane Region, proved vitally important as a freshman as the Wolfpack won the ACC tournament for the first time since 1991.
After teammate Kayla Jones missed a free throw, Brown-Turner collected the offensive rebound with just over a minute to play and was fouled. She made both free throws to give North Carolina State a four-point lead over Florida State on the way to a 71-66 triumph in March 2020.
This season, Brown-Turner is third on the Wolfpack in scoring (9.5) and was a member of the all-ACC tournament team following NC State’s third straight title. She is averaging 11 points in NCAA tournament games, most recently scoring nine in a 66-63 comeback win over No. 5 seed Notre Dame in Saturday’s region semifinal.
“We’re real selective who we bring into that locker room and who we bring into our program,” Moore said. “I think high character wins games and wins championships. Obviously they’ve got to be talented to play at this level and to compete for a Final Four, but I think that’s the thing that separates us sometimes: the unselfishness.”
Huskies Coach Geno Auriemma has echoed much of the same when discussing Fudd, who has moved into the starting lineup for a program long considered the sport’s gold standard.
Fudd has been in a shooting drought over the past two games, combining to go 7 for 20 from the field, but her two free throws with 15 seconds to play last Monday helped fend off an upset bid from No. 7 seed Central Florida, 52 -47, in the second round.
The Big East all-freshman selection has started 14 of the past 15 games in a season in which she overcame a foot injury, what Auriemma described as complications from a stress reaction. Fudd sat out 11 games and joined the lineup Jan. 26.
Connecticut has gone 17-1 since Fudd began playing again and enters the region final having won a season-best 13 in a row.
“Traditionally that Northern Virginia-Maryland area has produced a tremendous amount of terrific basketball players,” Auriemma said. “… The competition is tremendous in that area. The coaching is great, so I’m not surprised that those kids are doing well and so many of them are doing well.”