Huskies in the Pros: Stewart wins AP WNBA Player of the Year, ex-Husky rookies wrap first WNBA season, Giffey wins gold medal, Ahmed released by Diamondbacks, four Huskies in NFL for week one 


WNBA: UConn legend Breanna Stewart awarded AP WNBA Player of the Year in first season with New York Liberty, edges Aces A’ja Wilson by one vote. 

The awards keeps piling up for Breanna Stewart, who has been arguably the most dominant player in the WNBA in her first season with the New York Liberty. Stewart left Seattle after six seasons to move closer to home and that decision has paid major dividends, as the Liberty sit atop the Eastern Conference standings going into the postseason. The former No. 1 overall pick is averaging a career-high 23 points per game, 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Stewart, who won four national championships at UConn and two WNBA championships with Seattle, now has her sights set on leading New York to its first-ever WNBA championship. 

WNBA: A check in on Lou Lopez Sénéchal and Dorka Juhász as 2023 regular season comes to a close. 

Lou Lopez Sénéchal and Dorka Juhász are the latest players to come from Geno Auriemma’s factory of first round draft picks, as Lopez Sénéchal was selected fifth-overall by the Dallas Wings and Juhász fell to the Lynx at 16 in the 2023 WNBA Draft. With the regular season coming to a close this past Sunday, let’s look at how the two rookies fared in their first career regular seasons. Lopez Sénéchal began the 2023 season on the injured list as she continues to recover from knee surgery and will have to wait until 2024 to make her debut for Dallas. Juhász played in 38 games this season for Minnesota, averaging 6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting a very efficient 47% from the field. The 6-foot-5 forward from Pécs, Hungary closed out the regular season as one of the best rebounders in the league, tallying 53 rebounds over her final five games, including two double-doubles. 

FIBA Basketball World Cup: Two-time National Champion Niels Giffey wins gold medal with Germany in 2023 FIBA World Cup 

When Niels Giffey left Storrs in 2014, he walked away with a degree in economic geography and two National Championship rings from the 2011 and 2014 seasons. Now, Giffey is a gold medalist for his native country Germany, who just captured their first ever FIBA basketball world title this past Sunday. The 6-foot-7 forward from Berlin didn’t get significant playing time, but he delivered a couple of solid perfromances off the bench, including a 10-point game against Slovenia in the second round. Giffey now enters his second season with club team, FC Bayern Munich, averaging 7.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game for the club last season. 

MLB: Former UConn shortstop Nick Ahmed released by Diamondbacks, ending his decade-long tenure in Arizona 

This past weekend, the Arizona Diamondbacks released longtime shortstop Nick Ahmed after 10 seasons with the club. Ahmed was the longest tenured Diamonback at the time of his release and leaves his time in the desert with a career .234 batting average, 70 home runs and 2 gold gloves. The 33 year-old from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts was a crucial part of UConn’s run to the super regional in 2011, as he bat .326 and flashed elite leather in the field for manager Jim Penders’ squad. Ahmed left Connecticut sitting at 17th in school history in base hits and fourth all-time in stolen bases. 

NFL: Fatukasi, Van Demark, Peart and Jones on NFL rosters to begin week one.  

The 2023 NFL season is officially underway following the completion of an exciting week one. Across 32 league rosters, UConn will be represeanted by Folorunso Fatukasi, Ryan Van Demark, Matt Peart and Travis Jones this season. Let’s look how the four Husky alums fared one week into the season. 

Folorunso Fatukasi (2013-2016) 

The former UConn defensive tackle was drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL draft by the New York Jets and recently inked a three-year deal worth $30 million by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In week one, Fatukasi recorded three tackles and one hit on the quarterback in the Jaguars’ 31-21 win over Indianapolis. 

Travis Jones (2018-2021) 

Defensive Tackle Travis Jones is the most recent Husky to be drafted into the NFL, as the Baltimore Ravens selected him in the third round of last year’s draft. In week one, Jones played in 26% of defensive snaps and recorded one tackle. 

Matt Peart (2015-2019) 

Following his third-round draft selection in 2020, Peart is looking to establish more playing time after starting just six games in three years for the Giants. In New York’s opening week stinker to Dallas, a game they lost 40-0, Peart played in just four snaps and is going for an MRI for a leg injury this week. His status for week two is questionable. 

Ryan Van Demark (2018-2021) 

Two years have gone by since left tackle Van Demark left Connecticut with aspirations of making an NFL roster. This past training camp, Van Demark’s persistence was rewarded as he made one of the final roster spots for the Buffalo Bills. In week one, Van Demark did not see the field in Buffalo’s 22-16 loss to the Jets. 

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