When people discuss the UConn women’s basketball team having to replace the Big Three, they usually mention having to replace their production on the court. But seldom does any mention the leadership void left in their absence.
“The dilemma that we have is the lack of an anchor that you could tie everybody to hold everything together,” said head coach Geno Auriemma. “Someone who's been there, done that because that’s not there. It’s much more unsettled.”
With the season still young, Auriemma has seen flashes from certain players but isn’t overly concerned with finding a definitive leader at the moment.
“There’s been some times when Gabby’s upfront, there’s been some times when it’s been Lou because there’s been opportunities for them to do that and Kia and Napheesa in their own way,” he said. “If I had to pick I would say Gabby and Lou have had an opportunity to show that.
“There’s no clear cut, like ‘that’s the one’. We’ve had a bunch of years recently where that was the case. It’s not that bad really.”
While Geno may be looking at some younger players to step up, senior guard Saniya Chong aspires to become a leader.
“I want to be that person that they come to no matter who it is,” she said. “I can help them, I am here for them and I have been through everything over the past 3 years. I have a lot to tell.”
Chong is the only senior on the team, something she takes pride in but acknowledges the responsibility that comes with that.
“I’m shy but I know I’m going to have to do what I have to do for my team,” she said. “I’m a senior now and I need to step up.”
The first chance we will get to see the UConn women is Monday when they face off against the Florida State Seminoles. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. and the game will be shown on ESPN2.