So the record ends at 35-3. A 12th straight Final Four...and another loss to Notre Dame in the National Semi Finals. 300+ schools across the country would kill for this problem. Some Fans in Husky Nation would say it's a failure. But it's not by a long shot. Given there were more questions than ever heading into a season in a long time, getting to another Final Four was a major accomplishment. Here's my report card of the Huskies success in this 2018-19 season.
Naphessa Collier - She averaged a double double in her senior season. Which hasn't been done since Rebecca Lobo's Junior Year...Phese got rolling about mid season and never looked back. 792 points in a season, second most in program history, 25 double doubles, season single record for rebounds, second most FGM in a season and third in a career...Third career in points, fourth in career rebounds. A motor that never stops. And she'll be a nice addition to the Minnesota Lynx roster, especially with Maya Moore taking the season off. 2x All American..Maybe only one National Championship, but UConn is not in this Final Four without her
Katie Lou Samuelson - Lou played on a bum ankle for three years. Finally had surgery and played pain free until Senior Day when an errant knee slammed into her back diving for a loose ball. She missed the AAC Tournament, but played in the NCAA's. More of a post presence this season, Lou expanded her game. Was a better rebounder than ever and easily led the team in charges taken. And as bad as she looked physically against UCLA, where Kennedy Burke hounded her all night, she gutted out a great performance against Louisville to get UConn to Tampa...Then after an 0-fer in the first half against ND, 20 in the 2nd half. But trust me, she and her team would kill to have that missed bunny in the 4th back before Marina Mabrey tied the game with a three at 66 back....That'll sting a while. Lou will be a nice fit with Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley on the perimeter in Chicago.
Crystal Dangerfield - The QB of the offense dolled out 225 assists, second most in a season at UConn. While scoring 511 points and leading the team in FT% and steals. Crystal became UConn's best perimeter defender, but there is still work to be done. Too streaky as an offensive threat. She was non existent until late 3rd against UCLA and unfortunately was just 2 of 11 and 0 for 6 from three in the Final Four Game. But also had big games against Vanderbilt, Louisville and Temple. She will be THE leader of this team in the 19-20' season.
Molly Bent - The 4.0 math major (congrats !) had her best season to date shooting the basketball. 11 of 20 from three that included a big, first half role to get the Huskies started in the January home win against USF. Bent works tirelessly in the gym, With Aubrey Griffin coming in, PT may be tough, but valuable time off the best is a must.
Kyla Irwin - A coach's daughter, Irwin supports her teammates like no other player on the team. Her highlight moment was her first career start at St Louis, where she hauled down a career high 10 rebounds. Worked very hard to change her body health and fitness wise in the offseason, but the foot speed not quite there. Challenging for PT next season is very possible.
Batouly Camara - The junior transfer from Kentucky again struggled this season with some knee issues. But when in the ball game, gave you everything she had. 50% FG and worked hard on the glass. If healthy, the staff will find a role for her. Of course staying out of foul trouble will be key as well.
Megan Walker - easily the team's most improved player. Her numbers sky rocketed in season two. 12 points and 7 boards per game, Walker added some much need stability to the team. 48 made threes was third on the team, not to mention second in rebounding. She's likely to be the go-to player next season. Is she ready to handle that and expand her game even more ?? We'll see.
Mikayla Coombs - Geno Auriemma called her the " least confident player he's coached" Coombs is very athletic, which we saw numerous times during the season. She became a defensive presence in conference play with 22 steals. But the lack of confidence comes from her offense. 9 of 37 fro the season and just 1 of 18 from three for her career. If Coombs wants to get PT, she needs to slow down a half pace on offense. Will be interesting to see how both Sophs progress.
Christyn Williams - "Squeak" had a pretty solid first season with the Huskies. Started every game and like 98% of the freshman that come thru here, hit the wall mid season. The game at Temple probably the low point of the season for her. BUT, when Katie Lou went down with the back injury, Christyn stepped up her game. Nine straight double figure games to close out the season. That included 19 in the Final Four loss to Notre Dame. She can attack the rim and shoot the three ball fairly well. What needs work ? Defense..But that's typical of most freshman. She, like Walker and Dangerfield will be UConn's new Big Three..
Olivia Nelson Ododa - UConn's only true post player showed flashes of what's possible for her in the next three seasons. BUT she needs to develop a little bit of a mean streak in the post. Amanda Kimball I'm sure will have Liv in the weight room stronger for season two. Second on the team in blocks, she needs to learn to control blocks better and get the transition game moving. The two Notre Dame games were two of her best games this season in a UConn Uniform
Other than South Carolina, the home schedule wasn't much this past season. The 19-20' season will look vastly different. As the other three Final Four Teams visit Connecticut as does Tennessee in the resumption of at one time was the best in WCBB. Aubrey Griffin as of now, will be the lone addition to the roster. Geno is very high on this young lady. But they need more depth and size. Two of the more pressing needs. UConn may be a preseason top 10 team come November, but really, who knows what the season will look like. A lot can happen in seven months. Stay Tuned and thanks for listening all season long !