In just the last few weeks, UConn Huskies athletics has been in the news quite a bit. A former women’s basketball player broke a WNBA record, while a men’s basketball player decided on his new school after asking to transfer. All that and more on this edition of Quick Hits.
Taurasi becomes WNBA all-time leading scorer
Playing on Father’s Day in Los Angeles, near her hometown of Glendale, Calif., former UConn women’s basketball star Diana Taurasi became the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer with a 14-point showing in the first half against the Los Angeles Sparks.
The Phoenix Mercury star overtook Tina Thompson’s record total of 7,488 career points with 45 seconds remaining in the first half. After she broke the record, play was stopped as the crowd gave her a standing ovation.
Taurasi, who has been a deadly scorer throughout her career dating back to her time in Storrs, finished with 19 points in the game for a grand total of 7,494 points in less than 13 seasons. For context, Thompson played 17 seasons to achieve her record.
Many high-profile athletes, including LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, sent out videos and tweets of congratulations toward the former Husky. Former Los Angeles Laker and future first ballot Hall-of-Famer Kobe Bryant attended the game and personally congratulated Taurasi afterward.
Durham picks Fighting Irish, will sit out one year
Juwan Durham, one of the many UConn men’s basketball players to leave the team after last season, has picked his next basketball destination. The rising sophomore chose the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, where he will play under head coach Mike Brey.
Durham will sit out a year, per NCAA transfer rules, and could see playing time as a redshirt sophomore if he develops well in coach Brey’s system. Durham, a 6’11 big man, averaged just 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in just over eight minutes per game in his lone season in Storrs.
Men’s basketball schedules three-year series with Villanova
The Huskies men’s basketball team will have some good competition, and a big boost to their strength of schedule, in the midst of their conference schedule next season after announcing a three-year series with the Villanova Wildcats starting on January 20, 2018 with a game at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.
The two teams will also clash at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 22, 2018 before another meeting on January 18, 2020 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Penn.
UConn has a 31-33 all-time record against the Wildcats in a series that dates back to 1941. The Huskies won the last meeting between the two former Big East rivals, a 77-65 win on March 22, 2014 in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament on the way to the National Championship.
“We have had so many memorable games against Villanova over the years and Coach (Jay) Wright obviously has one of the very best programs in the country,” said UConn head coach Kevin Ollie, per UConn Athletics. “I know our fans will be thrilled to see the Wildcats back on our schedule.”
Huskies baseball has some representation in MLB Draft
The UConn baseball team had several of its players drafted in last week’s MLB first-year player draft. Pitcher Wills Montgomerie was taken in the sixth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers after a fantastic three-year career at UConn, culminating with a 116 strikeout season his junior year.
Joining Montgomerie in professional baseball will be fellow juniors Willy Yahn and John Russell, and senior Doug Domnarski. All three underclassmen selected have are expected to forgo their final years of eligibility with UConn and will start making their way up the minor league ranks.
UConn football releases 2017 roster
The 2017 UConn football roster was released over the weekend and everything looked as it was expected to following recruiting season, with one notable exception.
David Williams, a graduate transfer running back from South Carolina, was left off the roster. A press release from UConn Athletics stated that Williams would not be playing for the Huskies, with no reason specified. Williams was expected to be a big player in the new-look UConn offense, but they will go on without him.