UConn kicks off '16/'17 campaign with First Night Celebrations on October 14 in Storrs.
TORRINGTON: It may feel as though it’s been just a couple of weeks or months since the last women’s college basketball season wrapped up but believe it or not, it’s about to begin again.
Seems like yesterday that we were at Mohegan Sun to witness UConn grads Stewie, Jefferson and Tuck go one, two and three in the WNBA Draft after taking their fourth straight national Championship in April.
The trio has moved on though, Stewart was named the WNBA Rookie of the Year, Jefferson was on the All-Rookie team and Tuck had a good first year that ended with surgery.
That begs us to start to wonder about what this season will bring as the UConn women and the rest of the country, get ready for an act that does not include those all too familiar names.
Mind you, the cupboard is never bare in Storrs.
Returning champions include Kia Nurse, Katie Lou Samuelson, Gabby Williams and Napheesa Collier, all who were major pieces in the puzzle that completed the four-peat for their senior leaders and each of them contributed in a significant way.
Let’s face it though, a year ago if head coach Geno Auriemma needed a big win, he had to look no further than to his superstars who would swoop in and take care of business.
There will be no such luxury this year.
It’s a fascinating time at UConn though as this year’s team, complete with newcomers Crystal Dangerfield, Kyla Irwin and Molly Bent look to establish their own identity as the rest of the nation looks to knock off the top dog in the land.
….It is just as fascinating on the men’s side for head coach Kevin Ollie as he welcomes in newcomers and tries to fill the shoes left by the early departure the likes of Daniel Hamilton who was at times the Huskies best player a season ago.
Back though is a team that found their moxie in the NCAA Tournament and showed they were not a one man band.
Sure, UConn will miss Hamilton and his all-around game but sophomore Jalen Adams found his game as the season wore on, as did fellow second year player Steven Enoch.
Rodney Purvis stayed and is joined by fellow seniors Amida Brimah and Kentan Facey who will be counted on for the bulk of the board work this year.
Ollie continues to garner top recruits and brought in freshman Alterique Gilbert, Mamadou Diarra, Vance Johnson and Christian Vital.
UConn kicks off the 2016/2017 campaign with their annual First Night Celebration on Friday, October 14 at Gampel Pavilion.