The UConn women’s basketball program continues to provide some of the faces of the WNBA. The latest is Napheesa Collier, who was named the 2019 WNBA Rookie of the Year last week. Collier was drafted sixth overall in this year’s draft by the Minnesota Lynx, and she quickly became one of the team’s most important players.
Andra Espinoza-Hunter, an ESPN ranked No. 16 recruit out of high school, was the first from UConn’s 2017 recruiting class to transfer from the women’s basketball program. UConn has lost three out of the four recruits from that class, including Lexi Gordon and Mikayla Coombs. Megan Walker is the only one that remains.
The event will take place in the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For the fifth straight year, fans, students and alumni will be able to meet the coaches and student athletes, as well as listen to Auriemma’s reflection of the team’s season and watch special video clips highlighting the team’s progress on the court.
Although the team’s closely-contested, heartbreaking Final Four losses across each of the last three seasons may leave some questioning the program’s current state, its inability to meet our ridiculously high expectations should not prevent us from recognizing its overwhelmingly positive impact universitywide and statewide.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Huskies seemed poised to defeat last year’s national champion Notre Dame and return to the championship game after missing it for two straight seasons. UConn was up by nine with 7:52 left in the game after senior Napheesa Collier made a two-point field goal. The Husky fans at a sold out Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay began to taste victory.
UConn seniors Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier were named to the 10-player WBCA Coaches All-America Team. The team was rounded out with Kalani Brown from Baylor, Asia Durr from Louisville, Megan Gustafson from Iowa, Sabrina Ionescu from Orgeon, Bridget Carleton from Iowa State, Teaira McCowan from Mississippi State, Arike Ogunbowale from Notre Dame and Alanna Smith from Stanford.
It’s Final Four time once again for UConn women’s basketball, the team’s 12th consecutive appearance actually, in case you lost track. While many great players have headlined UConn rosters in the past, Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier are the seniors on the forefront of a roster that mostly has not seen a national championship atmosphere. Win or lose on Friday, we are here to decide which senior will leave the program with a greater legacy.
“As a young kid, I always dreamed of playing basketball at the Division I level, under coach Geno Auriemma at the University of Connecticut and now I take my first steps into realizing that dream,” Bueckers wrote.
“We had made a decision, we weren't going to (double team),” Geno Auriemma said. “We said we are not going to double. We are going to let Asia (Durr) get what she gets and just make her work as hard as possible to get those (shots). We just decided we cannot live with 11 made 3s like we did last time.”
“You know, there's probably no more, I think, nervous energy on a team or coaching staff than the day between your Sweet 16 game and your final eight game because you just want to play,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “You know you've got to play a really good team. You know you've got to play really well. You know what's at stake in the game. You know what's the reward for winning the game. And the prize for losing the game is your season is over.”