If you follow UConn women’s basketball, you know that year in and year out they are expected to win a national championship. Despite Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams graduating after last season, the Huskies are expected to steamroll through The American yet again.
Among the top contenders in the conference is USF. Last season the Bulls finished second in The American with a 26-8 overall record. Despite having a solid team, UConn thrashed them in their first matchup 100-49, second matchup 82-53 and their third game 70-54.
Returning for the Bulls is senior Kitija Laksa, who was selected to the preseason All-Conference First Team. During her 2017-2018 season, Laksa notched two 40-plus point games, including a league-record 41 against Ohio state. She also led the NCAA with a 96.5 free throw percentage.
Redshirt senior Laura Ferreira is expected to step up big time and she has the talent to do so. Ferreira was selected to the preseason All-Conference Second Team. The Portugal native averaged 10 points and 6.8 rebounds per-game.
After setting a single-season program record with 26 victories last season, head coach Jose Fernandez was named the 2018 American Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year.
The Houston Cougars were picked to finish third in the preseason poll. Each of their starters from a season ago will be returning. Junior guard Jasmyne Harris was selected to the preseason All-Conference First Team this year after averaging 19.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per-game.
Harris isn’t the only big time player for the Cougars. Angela Harris was named to the preseason All-Conference Second Team after averaging 14.9 points a season ago. As a whole, Houston broke its school record for made 3-pointers in a season for the second consecutive year in 2017-18 with 238 made threes.
The UCF Knights were picked to finish fourth in the conference according to the preseason poll. The team tied a program record with 22 wins last year. The team was able to hold opponents to 50 points or less seven times during the 2017-18 campaign.
Redshirt senior Nyala Shuler, who has played in every contest the past two seasons, will return this year. Junior Kay Kay Wright will look to lead the team after averaging 10.8 points per-game last year.
Despite the Huskies being picked to win the conference again this season, the competition level has steadily increased. Their conference foes should provide UConn with some hard-fought contests this season.
Michael Logan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.