Nika Mühl (Cole)
When Mühl did not shoot the ball last season–she averaged 7.1 points on 204 shot attempts–she handed it off to her teammates. In the process, the Croatian guard broke Sue Bird’s single-season record with 284 assists and earned All-Big East First Team honors. Paige Bueckers’ return from a torn ACL should lighten Mühl’s workload, but it will not stop her from dishing out assists in bunches. Beyond her playmaking prowess, the two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year will be a force in transition and can strike when opposing guards least expect it. A 2024 Nancy Lieberman Award watch list selection, expect Mühl to be in All-American discussions by season’s end because of what she can do on both sides of the ball.
Paige Bueckers (Stratton)
The 2021 National Player of the Year is looking to return to her freshman year magic, hoping to get through her first full healthy season. The women’s game has grown since then, particularly with the emergence of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, but it appears that Bueckers will return as if she didn’t miss a beat. At Big East Media Day, coach Geno Auriemma indicated that Bueckers has never looked better than she currently does. If true, that would be incredible. Many forget just how incredible the guard was during her freshman year, averaging 20 points, 5.7 assists and 2.3 steals on 46% from the three point line. Not only that, she also carried her Huskies to the Final Four. The idea that she could be even better is terrifying, especially with her much improved supporting cast.
Azzi Fudd (Cole)
Despite a strong start to the 2022-23 season, a knee injury hampered Fudd’s sophomore campaign and prevented her from being the primary scorer that everyone expected her to be in Bueckers’ absence. The 5-foot-11 junior earned a spot on the Cheryl Miller Award watch list, recognizing the nation’s best collegiate small forward, but she can thrive at either the shooting guard or small forward position. Being a three-point threat helps the Preseason All-Big East Team selection, who finished third on the team with 34 triples despite appearing in just 15 contests last season. Fudd and Bueckers have only played 15 games together across the past two years, but a healthy season from both former No. 1 overall recruits gives the Huskies one of the nation’s deadliest guard groups.
Aubrey Griffin (Stratton)
When discussing those who may start on this year’s women’s basketball team, many tend to leave Griffin as an afterthought. Don’t let the other big names on the team fool you–a lot of this team’s success hinges on the redshirt senior from Ossining, New York. Griffin is the team’s defensive anchor and played a key role for the Huskies last year, particularly as they became worn down with injuries. She lacked offensive consistency, but exploded in moments, including her 29 point, 10 board, 11-11 outburst she recorded to help avoid an upset against Princeton. Whatever she brings on offense will be helpful, but the way she glues the defense together is even more valuable. She’s not going to be the flashiest, but Griffin is a player who contributes to winning in a big way.
Aaliyah Edwards (Cole)
The only player to appear in each of UConn’s 73 games over the past two seasons, Edwards earned Third Team All-American honors behind a junior campaign where she averaged 16.6 points and nine boards. Dorka Juhász’s departure makes the Preseason All-Big East Team selection the focal point of the Huskies’ frontcourt, though that should not slow down Edwards from attacking on defense. On top of shooting at a team-best 58.9% clip, the Katrina McClain Award watch list selection forced 44 steals and finished tied for the team lead with 41 rejections. Edwards has all the tools to vie for a First Team All-American spot in 2024, and as long as she builds off last season, that possibility can become a reality.