#1 ConnecticutWomen's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Connecticut Huskies
Overall Rank: #1
Conference Rank: #1 American
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Despite their 111 game winning streak coming to an end at the hands of Mississippi State in the Final Four, Connecticut is the clear favorite to win the national championship in 2018. After making ten straight trips to the Final Four, it seems like the Huskies can already be penciled in for number 11.
2016-17 Record: 36-1, 16-0
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Geno Auriemma
Coach Record: 991-135 at Connecticut, 991-135 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Saniya Chong, Guard, 8.3 ppg
Natalie Butler, Center, 5.4 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Napheesa Collier, Junior, Forward, 20.4 ppg
Katie Lou Samuelson, Junior, Guard/Forward, 20.2 ppg
Gabby Williams, Senior, Forward, 14.3 ppg
Kia Nurse, Senior, Guard, 12.7 ppg
Crystal Dangerfield, Sophomore, Guard, 6.1 ppg
Kayla Irwin, Sophomore, Forward, 2.2 ppg
Molly Bent, Sophomore, Guard, 1.0 ppg
Key New Players
Batouly Camara, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer Kentucky
Mikayla Coombs, Freshman, Guard
Andra Espinoza-Hunter, Freshman, Guard
Alexis Gordan, Freshman, Guard/Forward
Azura Stevens, Junior, Forward, Transfer Duke
Megan Walker, Freshman, Guard/Forward
Four starters are back, including All-Americans Napheesa Collier, Katie Lou Samuelson and Gabby Williams. Collier led the team with 20.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. The 6-1 junior is nearly impossible to contain in the paint on either end of the floor. Samuelson is the most dynamic scorer on the squad. The 6-3 junior averaged 20.2 points per game and connected on an impressive 42.0 percent of her 283 three-point attempts. Samuelson will of course use her size to finish in the paint as well. Williams is a talented forward who can do it all for the Huskies. She averaged 14.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.4 blocks. With Kia Nurse, Crystal Dangerfield and the nation’s top incoming recruit, Megan Walker, also in the mix, Connecticut is absolutely loaded.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 87.1 (3rd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 54.9 (9, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 52.7 (1, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 35.1 (10, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (22, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.5 (1, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.9 (10, 1)
Rebound Margin: 6.6 (25, 3)
Assists Per Game: 23.3 (1, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (11, 1)
Madness 2018 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#3 Gabby Williams
#4 Azura Stevens
#11 Kia Nurse
#15 Napheesa Collier
Madness 2017 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#1 Megan Walker
#16 Mikayla Coombs
#19 Anrda Espinoza-Hunter
#20 Lexi Gordon