When the subject of women's basketball success comes up, there are mutliple schools that are worthy of that conversation. Many schools "enter the chat" with the star players and a flurry of wins in a given season. However, no one has a more successful resume in women's college basketball than the University Of Connecticut Huskies, better known as UCONN. With stars coming back from injury, and a Hall Of Fame coach still at the helm, the Huskies still remain among the favorites to challenge the field for a 12th NCAA championship.
Last season was a disappointment for UCONN after losing in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. They dealt with so many injuries all season as it seemed like every game they had a new hole in their team. The most notable piece missing was their star point guard Paige Bueckers (BEK-ers) after she missed last season with a torn ACL suffered in the off-season. Redshirt Freshman forward Ice Brady also missed last season with a torn ACL suffered early in the season. Other stars like Azzi Fudd, Dorka Juhász, and Caroline Ducharme suffered injuries as well that forced them to miss most of the season. But this year they are all mostly healthy and Head Coach Geno Auriemma (or-ee-EHM-uh) is set to guide them back to the top of the mantel.
The Huskies lost Juhász and Lou Lopez-Senachal to the WNBA, but they made up for it with a fantastic freshman class headlined by KK Arnold. The Mcdonald's All-American adds to a guard heavy team providing depth in case of another injury riddled season. Qadence (KAY-Dence) Samuels also joins the freshman class looking to add depth as a guard-forward hybrid making an impact anywhere on the court.
Aliyah Edwards will lead the front court this season starting games as the only "forward", while Auriemma runs a four guard lineup. Her and Bueckers will excel in their pick and roll offense as both look to transition to the pros in the near future. UCONN typically has a ton of guards at their disposal, and this year is no exception. Along with Bueckers and Ducharme, senior guard Nika Mühl and graduate forward Aubrey Griffin are poised to dominate and help make up for any production needed. Mühl broke the record for assists in a single season in school history last year held by Sue Bird, who also wore number 10 on her Husky jersey. There could be a concern that Bueckers' and Mühl's play styles could clash, but it seems like the opposite with Mühl being the primary pass-first guard and Bueckers' scoring ability.
UCONN annually produces the best talent that make it to the next level, and that still rings true today. Bueckers will most likely join a star-studded 2024 WNBA draft class, but she has one year of eligibility left should she choose to return to the Huskies for her senior year. Edwards will also probably enter the draft after this season as she is a senior. As they progress through the season, these players are ready to take their game to the next level and they will emerge showing their skill and leadership qualities.
The Huskies have already been bitten by the much dreaded injury bug this season, as Fudd has suffered a torn ACL and partial MCL tear in a practice. Even though Fudd is eligible for the upcoming draft (must be 22 years old the year of), the junior told ESPN's Rebecca Lobo that she would return for the 2024-25 season before the year started. Despite facing early tests with injuries and losses to NC State and # 2 UCLA, UCONN will not be detoured from the ultimate goal of winning another championship this season.