New Season, Same Expectations —UConn Women’s Basketball Preview

The Connecticut women’s basketball team has been one of, if not the most dominant program in all of sports. They have won 11 national championships and hold the the two longest win streaks in college basketball history, 90 games and 111 games. For 34 seasons, head coach Geno Auriemma and associate head coach Chris Dailey (CD) have been the constant ingredients for the Huskies’ success. Each season they have had the challenge of their top players graduating and starting their professional careers in the WNBA and overseas. They have built the culture of “we don’t rebuild, we reload,” and this season will be no different.

Courtesy of Hartford Courant

Last season, the Huskies graduated three players, all of whom were selected in the first round of the 2018 WNBA Draft.

Graduated Players from the 2017–2018 Season

Below shows the points per game and minutes per game from their senior seasons that UConn will be looking to replace this year.

2018–2019 Season Outlook

As most fans know, the past two seasons have ended in heartbreak for UConn. This season will be all about the number 12 for the Huskies. They will be seeking their 12th straight Final Four and 12th national championship, which I believe they will have a great shot at winning this season with the team they have returning.

Courtesy of UConn Athletics

The Huskies return nine players and welcome the number one and five prospects respectively in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100 for the 2018 class, Christyn Williams and Olivia Nelson-Ododa.

2018–2019 Roster:

Seniors: Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier

Juniors: Crystal Dangerfield, Batouly Camara, Kyla Irwin, Molly Bent

Sophomores: Megan Walker, Mikayla Coombs, Lexi Gordon

Freshmen: Christyn Williams, Olivia Nelson-Ododa

It will be interesting to see the player rotations UConn will use in the first game of the season and how they will evolve over the season. Typically, freshmen have not been an integral piece of UConn’s success, but for this team to make a championship run, the Huskies will need to have consistent minutes from both freshmen, Christyn Williams and Olivia Nelson-Ododa.

Projected Starting Five and Player Predictions:

Crystal Dangerfield — G

Christyn Williams — G

Megan Walker — G/F

Katie Lou Samuelson — G/F

Napheesa Collier — F

2018–2019 Season Prediction:

The 2018–2019 UConn team will learn a lot about itself playing at Notre Dame, Baylor and Louisville this season. UConn fans like myself have only seen 3 losses since the start of the 2013–2014 season, two of them being buzzer beaters in overtime. The dynamic duo of Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier have never lost a regular season game or conference game in their career (110–0).

Courtesy of AP Photo/Jessica Hill

With the demanding away game schedule, I do not anticipate this UConn team going undefeated this year in the regular season, and that is okay! In 5 of the 11 championships the Huskies have won, there were losses in the regular season. The games the Huskies must win and go undefeated in to secure their 12th championship start in mid-March and end on April 7, 2019 in Tampa Bay.

I anticipate the Huskies will go undefeated in the American Athletic Conference again this season and win their fifth consecutive conference championship. Samuelson and Collier will want nothing more than to end their highly decorated careers at UConn with a national championship. With consistent play from the underclassmen and some luck along the way, the Huskies will make it to their 12th consecutive Final Four. This season will not end like the previous two and the Huskies will bring their 12th national championship back to Storrs, Connecticut.

All stats are compiled from Her Hoop Stats and If you like this content, please support our work at Her Hoop Stats by subscribing for just $20 a year. In addition, be sure to follow Her Hoop Stats on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for your women’s basketball coverage.

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Sarah Moody

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