UConn has 75-game win streak, much to prove

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Pat Ea­ton-Robb

Per­haps it’s fit­ting that UConn’s freshman point guard is named Danger­field. Like Crys­tal Danger­field’s name­sake Rod­ney, the four-time de­fend­ing na­tional cham­pi­ons feel they aren’t get­ting enough re­spect.

Per­haps it’s fit­ting that UConn’s freshman point guard is named Danger­field.

Like Crys­tal Danger­field’s name­sake Rod­ney, the four-time de­fend­ing na­tional cham­pi­ons feel they aren’t get­ting enough re­spect.

UConn en­ters the sea­son on a 75-game win­ning streak, but is ranked third be­hind Notre Dame and Bay­lor in the pre­sea­son AP poll.

“I think it’s go­ing to let us play with a lit­tle chip on our shoul­der,” ju­nior Kia Nurse said.

“It’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent look for us, but def­i­nitely some­thing that gives you mo­ti­va­tion.”

Nurse and the other Huskies say they want to prove the UConn dy­nasty didn’t end in In­di­anapo­lis in April, when stars Bre­anna Ste­wart, Mor­gan Tuck and Mo­riah Jef­fer­son capped their careers with an 82-51 win over Syra­cuse and an un­prece­dented fourth straight ti­tle.

UConn’s “Big Three” won an NCAA-record 151 games dur­ing their col­lege careers. Their de­par­tures leave the Huskies with­out a su­per­star, but not with­out top ta­lent.

Starters Nurse, who was a key cog in Canada’s Olympic team and sopho­more sharp-shooter Katie Lou Sa­muel­son, who av­er­aged 11 points per game last sea­son, both re­turn.

They will be joined by ath­letic ju­nior Gabby Wil­liams, who al­ready has nine ca­reer dou­ble-dou­bles, 6-foot-1 for­ward Napheesa Col­lier, who also saw sig­nif­i­cant play­ing time last year, and 6-5 se­nior Natalie But­ler, in her sec­ond sea­son with the Huskies af­ter trans­fer­ring from Ge­orge­town.

Se­nior guard Saniya Chong and the freshman Danger­field are ex­pected to run the point, and an­other top re­cruit, guard Molly Best, is ex­pected to get plenty of play­ing time.

Still, coach Geno Auriemma is among those tak­ing a wait-and-see ap­proach to the sea­son.

He said none of his core play­ers has ever be­fore had to wake up on a col­lege game day know­ing that if she doesn’t play well, the team likely will lose.

“They come to prac­tice every day. They see the dif­fer­ence,” he said.

“They see there is a huge gap in what it was and what it is and I think they are smart enough to re­al­ize that the av­er­age per­son out there has been wait­ing for four years to see any­body else win.”

JES­SICA HILL — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Con­necti­cut head coach Geno Auriemma watches play dur­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion game against In­di­ana Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia on Tues­day. UConn en­ters the sea­son on a 75-game win­ning streak, but is ranked third be­hind Notre Dame and Bay­lor in first AP poll.

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