This week in UConn sports featured some expected results for the women’s basketball team and somewhat unexpected personnel changes for the men’s basketball team and coaching staff. All that and more on this week’s edition of Quick Hits.
Women’s basketball team marches through NCAA tournament, faces Oregon for Final Four berth
The UConn women’s basketball team has done everything right so far on its way to a matchup with the Oregon Ducks in the Bridgeport regional final. The Huskies trounced Albany in the opening round before defeating the rival Syracuse Orange by 30 points in a national championship rematch. The Jordin Canada-led UCLA Bruins gave UConn a bit of a fight in the Sweet 16, but the Huskies still managed to win by 15 to advance to a game against the Ducks for a Final Four berth.
Although they were seeded 10th in the Bridgeport region, Oregon is no slouch of a team. The Ducks have been on a roll this postseason, beating some of the best teams in the entire tournament including Duke and Maryland on their way to a matchup with the Huskies. They are led by freshman guard Sabrina Ionescu, who has averaged 16.7 points per game, 7.0 rebounds per game and 6.7 assists per game in the tourney so far. Ionsecu wreaked havoc on the Terrapins, who were expected to be UConn’s biggest threat in the NCAA tournament, and could do the same if the Huskies’ guards don’t keep her in check.
Men’s basketball makes personnel changes on the coaching staff; Enoch asks for release to transfer
The UConn men’s basketball team made some changes to its coaching staff this week with the reported firings of Travis Illian and Glen Miller. Illian, the team’s strength and conditioning coach, worked with the Huskies for the last four years after previous stints with Alabama, TCU and Mississippi State. Despite his success with both Alabama’s title-winning gymnastic and football programs, as well as UConn’s 2014 men’s basketball championship season, Illian may have been fired due to the number of injuries the team suffered this year. The lack of depth as a result of the injuries were a big part of the Huskies’ 16-17 record and might validate such a decision. You can read the full story on Illian’s firing here.
Miller, the former associate head coach, was also fired this week according to source Gavin Keefe. Miller served two seven-year stints for the Huskies. The first stint began in 1986 under Jim Calhoun before Miller left to become head coach at a number of schools. Miller returned as director of basketball administration under Calhoun in 2010 before becoming the associate head coach under Kevin Ollie in 2012. Read the full story here.
In other men’s basketball news, sophomore big man Steven Enoch asked for release to transfer earlier this week. The 6-foot-11-inch Enoch was going to be the only true experienced center returning to the Huskies’ roster next year following the graduations of Amida Brimah and Kentan Facey, respectively. Although he has not yet been allowed transfer by Ollie, there is a fairly high chance Enoch will be released. It is currently unknown where Enoch will go, but there will surely be a void in the UConn lineup without a proven big man. You can read the story on Enoch’s transfer here.