UConn has 75-game win streak, much to prove
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.”
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.