The WNBA has some amazing talent and lots of tight competition. This regular season has been no different with teams fighting hard for playoff spots and bye weeks. The UConn women’s basketball team, in particular, is well represented in the league, with 14 former players on active 2017 WNBA rosters.
Just when you thought that there might be a changing of the guard in women’s college basketball, UConn Huskies’ head coach Geno Auriemma went out and recruited another incredible class of freshmen to add to an already stellar roster.
Redshirt junior Natalie Butler will transfer from the UConn women’s basketball team to George Mason University according to a press release from the team. Butler, a Fairfax, Virginia native, will be eligible to play immediately for George Mason as a graduate transfer.
Sue Bird, a two-time NCAA and WNBA champion, was the first player in WNBA history with 5,000 points and 2,000 assists and won her fourth Olympic gold medal this past summer with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
For day two of Women in Sports Week, Sports Editor Dan Madigan talked with former UConn star and current New York Liberty center Tina Charles. Charles, a two-time national champion at UConn who finished her career as the leading scorer in program history before being surpassed by Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart.
Chong, who averaged 8.3 points and four assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the 3-point line this past season, will likely need to perform well in training camp to earn a spot on the Dallas roster and become the 16th active UConn player in the WNBA.
The UConn men’s basketball team was criticized last season for having a somewhat weak schedule. They were criticized even more when that weak schedule produced several bad losses, including two to open the season against Wagner and Northeastern. But this year, no one will be bashing the Huskies for having a weak slate. They have multiple tough tests scattered throughout the year.
After what fans hope will be a few tune-up games, UConn heads to the inaugural Phil Knight Invitational. They will open against Oregon and in the next round they will face either Michigan State or Georgetown. Considering how big the bracket is, there is a multitude of opponents they could face after that. But some of the possibilities include North Carolina, Arkansas and Oklahoma State. The PK80 is stacked with great teams and this is only the start of their tough schedule.
The Huskies open their season Nov. 10 against Colgate at Gampel Pavilion. They follow Colgate with Stony Brook on Nov. 14 and Boston University, with both games to be played at the XL Center in Hartford.
Two are junior college transfers: forwards Eric Cobb and Kwintin Williams. The other four are freshmen, and all forwards: Josh Carlton, Tyler Polley, Isaiah Whaley and Sidney Wilson (guard/forward). Wilson’s eligibility remains up in the air, as he decided to transfer from St. John’s just a few weeks ago.
The start of a new school year means the start of a new basketball season. Just like Gampel Pavilion’s roof is getting a much-needed fix, the UConn men’s basketball team is looking to follow suit after a disastrous 2016-17 season.
In the 2015-16 season, Williams averaged 18.0 points per game on 55 percent shooting and 8.3 rebounds per game. He transferred last year, but didn't play, to Arizona Western to preserve his remaining three years of eligibility.
It was another big week for fans of UConn sports, with one former baseball star earning his first start in the MLB All-Star Game while a former Huskies' men's basketball player put pen to paper on a deal to join a perennial superteam in the NBA.