With the departure of Kia Nurse, Crystal Dangerfield is the only returning starter in UConn’s backcourt. Heading into the season, sophomore Megan Walker and freshman Christyn Williams look ready to step up for the Huskies. Here’s the breakdown of this year’s guards:
Crystal Dangerfield - Junior
Dangerfield returns to the starting point guard position for her junior season. Last season she averaged 9.5 points and 4.1 assists per game for the Huskies. She has also been identified as one of the top point guards in the country, with a place on the 2019 Nancy Lieberman Award watch list.
Dangerfield adds another force from beyond the arc for the Huskies. In her sophomore season, she ranked 31st in the country by making 45 percent of her three-point attempts. She also scored an impressive 1.17 points per scoring attempt for the Huskies last season.
Dangerfield also added 1.7 steals per game, coming away with the steal on over two percent of opponent’s possessions. Her speed allows her to push the pace of the game for UConn, and to force turnovers on the defensive end.
Megan Walker - Sophomore
Walker came to UConn as the top recruit in the country and reigning Gatorade Player of the Year in 2017. However, she only averaged 15.5 minutes per game last season. In her limited minutes, Walker added 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game for the Huskies.
Walker returns for her sophomore year poised to step up and be a contributor in the UConn backcourt. Senior teammate Katie Lou Samuelson had great things to say about Walker at AAC Media Day.
“She’s solid for us no matter what, and she’s been great for us. She can score. She can muscle with anyone down there. She’s one of our strongest players,” Samuelson said. “Just the difference in how she carries herself and how she approaches practice is really key for us. She could be one of the most important parts to our team.”
Christyn Williams - Freshman
Williams, the top-ranked recruit in the 2018 class, arrived with high school accolades similar to many current and former UConn stars. She was the 2018 Gatorade, Naismith and WBCA High School Player of the Year, as well as a McDonald’s All-American. As a high school senior, she averaged an impressive 26.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, leading her team to a state championship.
Williams is a talented player, and her confidence will help her succeed in her first season at UConn. In the words of Geno Auriemma, she is both “supremely talented and supremely confident”.
It is rare that a freshman at UConn is able to impact the team from the start. However, with a thinner roster than years past, expect Williams to rise to the opportunity and contribute early on.
Molly Bent - Junior
Bent has played limited minutes in her freshman and sophomore years, totaling just 522 career minutes for the Huskies. She did, however, show flashes of improvement in her second season. Most notably, in UConn’s 81 point victory over Wichita State last season, Bent tallied nine points, four rebounds and three steals in 14 minutes on the floor.
Bent was also plagued by turnovers last season, posting the third worst turnover rate in the country at 51.9 percent. That means of all the possessions she ended for the Huskies (either with a shot, trip to the line, or turnover), 52 percent were due to turnovers. She will need to take better care of the ball to get more minutes off the bench.
Mikayla Coombs - Sophomore
Coombs averaged just 6.7 minutes in her 25 games for the Huskies during last year. Despite being a McDonald’s All-American, she struggled for most of her freshman season, especially with her three-point shot. Coombs then sat out most of March with a deep vein thrombosis diagnosis. Hopefully she can return healthy for her sophomore season, and improve her game with a year of college experience under her belt and earn the backup point guard job.
Lexi Gordon - Sophomore
Gordon also had limited playing time in her freshman year, averaging just 3.9 minutes per game. Gordon has at times impressed on the glass, including collecting four rebounds in the NCAA tournament, where she played just 12 minutes. Hopefully she can elevate her game for her sophomore year to give the Huskies strong minutes from the bench.