Winners and Losers

Katie Lou Samuelson starts a layup during the Huskies 100-44 victory over USF to win the American Conference Championships on Monday, March 6, 2017. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

Winner

UConn Women’s Basketball: The Huskies captured their fourth consecutive American Athletic Conference championship with their ridiculous 100-44 victory over USF on Monday night. As they rolled through the tournament, they showed that there is no real competition for them within the conference when they play their best. Their 69.1 shooting percentage showed that if they hit their shots, they can be tough to even compete with.

Katie Lou Samuelson: The sophomore standout led the way in the championship game, putting up one of the best performances of her young career. She went a remarkable 10 for 10 from beyond the arc, setting a NCAA Division I women’s basketball record for most consecutive 3-pointers.

These three pointers contributed to an overall 40-point night for Samuelson, who was hitting every shot. The crowd at Mohegan Sun was brought to life by the electric performance, as “Lou” calls were prevalent throughout the evening.

Las Vegas Golden Knights: The 31st NHL franchise will debut at the start of the 2017-18 season as the first professional franchise to reside in Las Vegas. Usually it is a struggle for expansion teams when they first break on the scene, but the Golden Knights will have it much easier than teams in the past.

As the only expansion team entering the league coming into next season, they will be able to hand-pick their roster, with the opportunity to select a player from each of the other 30 teams. The other teams will only be able to protect a set of three defensemen and seven forwards, or four defensemen and four forwards. This is a small portion of each team’s roster, meaning some decent players will be available for Las Vegas to grab.

Many of the deeper teams in the NHL will likely lose a valuable asset to the Golden Knights. While first- and second- year players are exempt from the expansion draft, all other players must be protected to ensure they are not lost.

While it is unlikely the Golden Knights compete for a playoff spot, they will probably be able to finish above some of their opponents in the standings. The team could gain tremendous traction in the Las Vegas area being that they are the first professional team there. The destination will attract many opposing fans to travel to the city to see games as well.

The Golden Knights also made its first transaction in franchise history this week, signing forward Reid Duke to an entry level contract. With the first card drawn, hockey fans will begin to see what kind of hand the Golden Knights will be dealt heading into its first season.

Losers

UConn Men’s Ice Hockey: The Huskies fell rather easily in the first round of the Hockey East tournament, bringing a quick end to their season. They lost their three-game series against Northeastern 2-0. They lost the first game 3-1 on Friday, before falling 6-2 the next night. Special teams really hurt UConn in the series as they surrendered five power play goals, and went 0-for-6 on their own advantages.

While UConn faces steep competition in Hockey East, they had the talent to have a better finish than a first round exit. With the two tournament losses, they finished the year 0-4 against Northeastern, a team that finished only a point better than them during the regular season.

UConn’s losses against Northeastern were the team’s downfall this season. Had they won either of their matches against them in the regular season, they would have earned a home playoff series. Rather than gain revenge against other Huskies in the tournament, they floundered before the playoff beards could even become a stubble.  

The American Athletic Conference: The Huskies’ conference does not provide enough competition for the women’s basketball team each night. Although Tulane almost upset UConn this season, the Huskies usually dominate their conference opponents, winning by a multitude of points. To win by 56 points in the conference tournament final is absurd.

This is not to say that UConn’s success harms the sport in ruining the quality of competition. If the Huskies were in a higher quality conference, there would be much more anticipation for each game.

The teams in the American besides UConn come into each season hopeless. They have zero chance to win anything with the Huskies dominating atop the standings.


Dylan Barrett is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus.  He can be reached via email at dylan.barrett@uconn.edu.