She’s definitely not going to be Paige Bueckers, the once National Player of the Year who the UConn women’s national team lost to an ACL injury a month ago, but Inês Bettencourt will help out with depth. Bettencourt, a 5’9’’ point guard from Portugal comes to the team as an important addition. Prior to her commitment, the Huskies were dangerously short in the point guard department, down to just Nika Muhl.
Bettencourt is from São Miguel, Azores within greater Portugal and most recently played for Clube União Sportiva in her hometown. She played in the 2022 FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship Division B, bringing Portugal to fourth place as the most effective player on the team. Bettencourt impacted the game in a variety of ways, notching 14.4 points per game to go along with 4.6 steals, 3.7 boards and 3.6 dimes. Although her country lost in the championship game, she still received the honor of being named to the All-Star Five, the five best players in the tournament.
“Inês is a true point guard. She loves to distribute the ball and can make shots,” Coach Geno Auriemma said in a press release. “She’s used to playing in the European style of ball movement, ball screens, lots of 2-man game, 3-man game. I think she’s a tough kid and a great competitor. I’m thrilled that we were able to find her.”
“Being a UConn Husky is a dream come true,” Bettencourt noted in the release;
. “I’m extremely excited to start this adventure and give my all in blue and white.”
It’s hard to imagine Bettencourt playing too much of a role this year, given the presence of Muhl as a point guard capable of logging 30+ minutes a game. However, that’s not to say that she won’t have any role. If injuries are present like they were last year, the freshman could find herself inserted into the starting lineup. Although the tape on Bettencourt is limited, what there is looks encouraging. She’s not particularly athletic, but is quick and has a great ability to make decisions on the go. The thing that sticks out the most is her vision. She’s able to make the right passes to players at the right time, which is a critical skill. Although she’ll need to refine her movements to become a bit more efficient, the raw passing talent is there. Bettencourt is also a solid shooter, but refining her form may also be good, as her release is a touch slow. She can also finish well, but mainly does so in the fastbreak and less so in half-court sets. Bettencourt is able to capitalize defensively on sloppy plays well, grabbing a ton of steals, but it will be tough to continue this at the college level. Players are much less careless, so don’t expect her to match the numbers she put up at the FIBA tournament.
Overall, Bettencourt was an important pickup for Auriemma and the Huskies. She may not play a huge role right away, but her international experience brings a good level of depth to the team and will be useful if there are any injuries.
Video for digital: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qd6zvVfCDw