Women’s Basketball: Coming off a Final Four loss, the Huskies look to bounce back


Crystal Dangerfield pushes the ball up the court. (Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

Crystal Dangerfield pushes the ball up the court. (Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

With the UConn Women’s Basketball season quickly approaching, Huskies’ head coach, Geno Auriemma is looking for someone to step up and lead the team.

The Huskies ended their 2017-2018 season losing Kia Nurse, Azura Stevens, and Gabby Williams to graduation, as well as freshman guard Andra Espinoza-Hunter to Mississippi State. With the leadership of this trio gone, the Huskies have much to prove this season. Auriemma landed two top-ten recruits, Christyn Williams (No. 1) and Olivia Nelson-Ododa (No. 5), who have champion mindsets and won Gold medals with Team USA in Mexico this past summer.

Megan Walker is expected to land a spot in the starting lineup, alongside returning Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, and Crystal Dangerfield. It will be interesting to see who Auriemma places in the fifth spot of this lineup. Walker was a go-to player in Auriemma’s eight-person rotation last season and played beyond the expectations of a freshman, however Auriemma may beg to differ because he pushes his players to improve on every aspect of their game and be the best.

Auriemma is looking to have a healthy team this season. Samuelson suffered from an ankle injury that resulted in surgery and was said to have had a successful recovery. Alongside Samuelson’s injury, Mikayla Coombs sat out towards the end of her freshman season due to vein thrombosis. Coombs is a phenomenal guard that brings a lot of energy to the floor and will be a huge asset to this team in the upcoming season.

With a team that only contains two new faces, the Huskies look to get Nelson-Ododa and Williams accustomed to UConn’s winning culture, which is unlike any other, as they seek a championship. UConn’s returning players have lost no more than two games in their collegiate careers, each following a perfect regular-season. The Huskies’ desire to be more than just champions of their conference. With two back to back Final Four loses, this season is bound to change.

Williams is a 5’11 guard who has an amazing all-around game. She can convert on the offensive end, as well as play tough defense and get stops, so she will be a sight to see in whatever ways Auriemma chooses to use her. Nelson-Ododa stands at 6’4 and will be a force to reckon with in the paint. With Stevens gone, the Huskies will be looking for someone to step up and assume their role down low, alongside Collier.

With eleven national championships under his belt, Auriemma aims to equip his team with the necessary skills and strategies in order to attain yet another national championship. Only two players on Auriemma’s roster know the feeling of winning an NCAA National Championship and they will stop at nothing to regain that feeling, marking the end of their collegiate careers; while the others aim to achieve such an accomplishment. It will be to see exciting to see the fight that the team has this year.

Looking further ahead, the classic rivalry between UConn and Tennessee will be revived and was announced to resume as of the 2019-2020 season.

Hanaisha Lewis is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hanaisha.lewis@uconn.edu.

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