Why UConn Women's Basketball is Still at the Top

It is no secret that these past four seasons have been great for UConn Women's Basketball. They have won four National Championships the past four seasons and alum Breanna Stewart won Most Outstanding Player four times in a row as well. However, with the graduation of seniors Morgan Tuck, Breanna Stewart, and Moriah Jefferson the current team is facing the inevitable questions from reporters on how to move forward without looking back to the past.  There were doubts about how the team would fare this year but in spite of this they were ranked first in the Associated Press's preseason poll. And while there a lot of new faces on the team this season there are also a couple of old faces that add experience to the mix.

 

Kia Nurse

Fresh off a summer spent competing with the Canadian national team in the Olympics, this dynamite junior guard will most likely be the voice of leadership this season for the team. Last season, Nurse was the only player on the team to start every game and averaged an impressive 9.3 points per game. For this upcoming season, Nurse has already been awarded the honor of American Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year and joins sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson as a member of the Preseason All-Conference First Team. Between the end of last season and the beginning of this season, Nurse has had quite a bit of playing experience that is sure to help her be a key player for the team. 

 

Gabby Williams

After Katie Lou Samuelson was hurt for the National Championship last season, current junior guard Gabby Williams was put into the starting position to take over for her. She excelled. Averaging 8.8 points per game and 5.6 rebounds, Gabby, who has track experience from high school, is certainly the best athlete on the team. However, there is much more to her than athleticism as her mid-range jumper was a killer shot last year and if she was able to expand her range during the off-season she will be a lethal weapon for the team. She will most likely be in a starting role this season and will be an exciting player to watch. 

 

Katie Lou Samuelson 

After a stellar season last year, current sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson will also most likely have a bigger leadership role on this year's team. After averaging 11.0 points a game last year and making 78 three-point field goals Samuelson is sure to only improve this season making her a serious threat outside the arc. Samuelson also joined Kia Nurse on the Preseason All-Conference team for this season. Even though she has a lot to live up to, Samuelson is still a young player who will certainly make big strides. 

 

Napheesa Collier

After Katie Lou Samuelson was hurt in the semifinals before the national championship last season, current sophomore Napheesa Collier became the sixth woman off the bench and proved that this season she should definitely be a starter. She averaged 6.8 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game last season and also shot an impressive 53.3 percent from the floor. This season, expect Collier to have worked on her range to become more of an outside threat and of course still dominate in offensive rebounds. 

 

Crystal Dangerfield

Newcomer Crystal Dangerfield is most definitely the freshman to watch for the team this year. In her senior year of high school, Dangerfield averaged 23.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. She is a skilled and quick point guard and will most likely take over the position that Moriah Jefferson left vacant when she graduated last year. Dangerfield also has experience playing with USA basketball which will help her with experience. Dangerfield may have already accomplished a lot in her career, but she is only getting started. 

 

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