#1 Connecticut Women's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Connecticut Huskies
Overall Rank: #1
Conference Rank: #1 Big East
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Connecticut returned to the Big East and did the same thing they did in the AAC…dominate. The Huskies went a perfect 18-0 in Big East action, but did falter in the Final Four for the fourth time in a row. By UConn standards, that is disappointing. Coach Geno Auriemma did have a young team last year though. Now this is a very experienced group with a talented bunch of sophomores that are poised to take another step forward. With nearly everybody back and a crop of newcomers who have the potential to make a huge impact from day one, the Huskies should get back to the Final Four and make a serious run for their first national title since 2016.
2020-21 Record: 28-2, 18-0
2020-21 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Geno Auriemma
Coach Record: 1,119-144 at Connecticut, 1,119-144 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Anna Makurat, Guard, 4.9 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Paige Bueckers, Sophomore, Guard, 20.0 ppg
Christyn Williams, Senior, Guard, 16.3 ppg
Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Senior, Forward, 12.0 ppg
Aaliyah Edwards, Sophomore, Forward, 10.7 ppg
Evina Westbrook, Senior, Guard, 9.4 ppg
Aubrey Griffin, Junior, Forward, 6.2 ppg
Kika Muhl, Sophomore, Guard, 4.9 ppg
Mir McLean, Sophomore, Forward, 2.8 ppg
Piath Gabriel, Sophomore, Forward, 0.7 ppg
Saylor Poffenbarger, Freshman, Guard, 0.5 ppg
Key New Players
Amari DeBerry, Freshman, Forward
Caroline Ducharme, Freshman, Guard
Azzi Fudd, Freshman, Guard
Dorka Juhasz, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Ohio State
Saylor Poffenbarger, Freshman, Guard
Paige Bueckers became the first freshman to win the Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy, AP Player of the Year and USBWA Player of the Year. The 5-11 guard averaged a smooth 20.0 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. She hit 46.4 percent of her 138 attempts from beyond the arc and shot 52.4 percent overall from the floor. Evina Westbrook is a steady senior who can set up her teammates and hit some outside shots. Christyn Williams will again be the main backcourt scoring threat along with Bueckers. The senior tallied 16.3 points per game and is a great scorer from everywhere on the floor. Kika Muhl started 15 games as a freshman and averaged 4.9 points and 2.7 assists. She is a good shooter when given the opportunity. The frontcourt will be led by Olivia Nelson-Ododa. The 6-5 senior tallied 12.0 points and a team high 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Aaliyah Edwards had a very promising freshman campaign, tallying 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds. Junior Aubrey Griffin is another talented forward who can provide quality depth in the paint. The frontcourt will also get a boost from Ohio State transfer Dorka Juhasz. The 6-5 forward started three years at Ohio State and averaged 14.6 points and 11.1 rebounds in 2020-2021. The four-player class of freshmen is led by top recruit Azzi Fudd. Caroline Ducharme, Amri DeBerry and Saylor Poffenbarger are also top 20 prospects. They will not all be able to find quality minutes on this roster, but Coach Auriemma certainly has the depth to weather any potential issues throughout the season.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 81.9 (6th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 52.6 (6, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 51.1 (2, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 33.7 (5, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (104, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.6 (33, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.4 (137, 8)
Rebound Margin: 11.2 (7, 1)
Assists Per Game: 20.4 (1, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.1 (70, 2)
Madness 2022 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#8 Christyn Williams
#9 Evina Westbrook
#12 Dorka Juhasz
#17 Olivia Nelson-Ododa
Madness 2021 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#1 Azzi Fudd
#7 Caroline Ducharme
#8 Amari DeBerry
#16 Saylor Poffenbarger