Women’s Basketball: UConn says goodbye to three major contributors


(Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

After a nail-biting finish to the UConn women’s basketball season in the Final Four against Notre Dame, the Huskies also had to say goodbye to Kia Nurse, Gabby Williams and Azura Stevens.

Williams was the fourth overall selection by the Chicago Sky, Stevens was selected by the Dallas Wings with the sixth pick and Nurse was taken 10th overall by the New York Liberty.

Williams is a two-time WBCA All-American and a two-time NCAA Champion. In Storrs, the forward finished with over 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 steals and 400 assists. She was a fierce competitor on both sides of the court.

Nurse typically defended the opposing team’s top guard and excelled in that role. The guard was named to the 2018 WBCA and the American Conference Defensive Player of the Year. But Nurse could catch fire on the offensive end as well. The senior finished her career with over 1,600 points, 400 assists and 185 steals.

Stevens added some much-needed size and finesse underneath the hoop. Standing at 6-foot-6, the Duke transfer finished her season averaging 14.7 points per game and 7.4 rebounds.

The Huskies will retain rising seniors Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier. Samuelson led the team in scoring with 17.4 points per game, while Collier was second (16.1).  Samuelson is extremely valuable from 3-point land as she has a team-high percentage of .475, not to mention, she won her second straight American Conference Player of the Year award.

Megan Walker, who came to UConn last year as the No. 1 recruit in the nation, should expect to play an increased role next season. In her freshman year, she played 15.5 minutes per game, while averaging 5.8 points.

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma and his staff secured another top recruiting class for next season. The No. 1 prospect in the nation Christyn Williams and the No. 5 prospect Olivia Nelson-Ododa committed to UConn.

As a guard, Williams and Crystal Dangerfield could form a formidable backcourt duo in the upcoming season. Meanwhile, Nelson-Ododa will replace Stevens underneath the hoop.

Auriemma was able to reach the 1,000 career wins milestone this past season against Oklahoma and UConn fans should expect that number to continue to rise next year. Meanwhile, the associate head coach Chris Dailey was named to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and assistant coach Marisa Moseley was named the head coach at Boston University.

Michael Logan is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.logan@uconn.edu.

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