UConn women’s basketball loses another star after Ice Brady’s ‘heartbreaking’ injury

University of Connecticut women’s basketball has lost another promising player before the 2022-2023 season.

Freshman forward Isuneh “Ice” Brady underwent a successful surgery on Tuesday after sustaining a dislocated patella in her right knee during practice on Oct. 21. Paige Bueckers, former national player of the year, will also miss the 2022-23 season with a torn ACL in her left knee.

Brady will be missing a long awaited freshman season. She was a 2022 McDonald’s All American, ranked as the fifth-highest recruit in her class by ESPN. She committed to the Huskies early as a high school sophomore in 2019 and had aspirations to play for UConn even before that.

“It was funny. The other day I was on the phone with my dad and he was going through my stuff back home and he found a notebook or a little piece of paper and one of the goals on there, from when I was in like sixth grade, was to win a championship at UConn and go to UConn” she said.

Her long awaited debut will have to wait another year.

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“it's so heartbreaking because they put so much time and effort into being the best player they can be," head coach Geno Auriemma said. "When that's taken away – regardless of how long they're out – to not be able to play is unfortunate. Ice has made so much progress since she's been here and I'm really confident that when she does come back, she's going to be better and more impactful than she already has been."

Feb 25, 2022; Hartford, Connecticut, USA; UConn Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma talks with guard Paige Bueckers (5) from the sideline as they take on the St. John's Red Storm in the second half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
UConn Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma will utilize Paige Bueckers as an "athlete-coach" (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

UConn’s season outlook

With 11 national titles to Uconn’s name, the goal has not changed for the Huskies. The 2022 national runners-up had a tough series of injuries and illnesses last season with a few players still recovering from surgeries. Still, they approach the season as the No. 6 team in the AP poll, as well as the unanimous Big East preseason favorite.

Ayanna Patterson, formerly ESPNW's No. 3-ranked prospect in the 2022 class, plays at 6-foot-3 and will be available to pick up front court minutes.

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 29: McDonald's High School All Americans Isuneh Brady (25) and Ayanna Patterson (34) who will be attending UConn pose for a group photo before the 2022 McDonalds High School All American Girls Game at Wintrust Arena. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
McDonald's High School All Americans Isuneh Brady (25) and Ayanna Patterson (34) will be an exciting duo when Brady returns. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In signing Patterson and Brady, Auriemma was looking to “find a couple bigs who could play multiple positions,” he said in a statement. “I think we found the two best in the country in Ayanna and Ice. As a tandem, I think they’re going to give us exactly what we were looking for.”

While he won’t have them together, Patterson can be expected to make some noise wherever she is placed on the court.

Sophomore guard Azzi Fudd is the only double-digit scorer returning, and the team will likely look to her for more now. She missed playing time last season because of a foot injury and was still able to record a team leading 43 percent 3-point shooting record, even making the 2022 Big East All-Freshman Team.

Bueckers is reportedly leaning into a role as an "athlete-coach," and will support her teammates from the sidelines where we can expect to see Brady as well.

The Huskies begin the push for a 15th consecutive Final Four and 12th overall national title in November.