As it was in the beginning and is now, UConn women’s basketball was picked to finish first in the American Athletic Conference preseason poll. In the six years’ of the conference’s existence, the Huskies have never lost a game and have claimed all 12 AAC regular season and tournament championships.
Crystal Dangerfield was also tabbed as co-Preseason Player of the Year along with UCF’s Kay Kay Wright. Dangerfield (unanimous) and Megan Walker were selected to the preseason all-conference first team. Christyn Williams got the snub and was only named to the preseason all-conference second team.
Considering Williams won the conference’s Freshman of the Year award last season and should only get better as a sophomore, her omission from the first team is certainly a surprise. But as is the case with many AAC awards, the coaches probably wanted to spread the recognition around the conference instead of allowing UConn to monopolize the honors.
Here’s some other notes from the American’s media day down in Philadelphia:
- There’s some similarities this year to the 2016-17 season, when the Huskies needed to replace the production of Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck without any establish options (at the time). And now after losing the program’s highest-scoring duo in Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, head coach Geno Auriemma doesn’t know where their replacements are going to come from:
Geno on this year's team:— Alexa Philippou (@alexaphilippou) October 14, 2019
"This is one of those years where not only did we lose the most points we've ever lost combined with two kids, but there's no easy answer to where we're going to get all those points... It's one of those years where everything's in a state of flux."
- Well, maybe Auriemma has a bit of an idea of who needs to step up:
Geno isn't hiding his expectations for Megan Walker: "It's probably a lot to ask, but she's going to have the kind of season that Pheesa had for us to go to the Final Four."— Doug Bonjour (@DougBonjour) October 14, 2019
- Auriemma also gave a health update on Dangerfield (hip) and Evina Westbrook (knee), who both underwent surgery back in the spring. He also noted that they haven’t heard back from the NCAA on the status of Westbrook’s waiver to play immediately after transferring in from Tennessee.
Geno said both Westbrook and Dangerfield have been limited in practice coming off their respective surgeries. As for Westbrook's wavier, it's still a waiting game.— Doug Bonjour (@DougBonjour) October 14, 2019
- Auriemma makes an interesting point while talking with the ADN about why it’s important to schedule nationally in non-conference play. Obviously the Huskies need a challenge since they don’t get that in the AAC. But the coach also points out a different perspective:
If we were to put together an amazing schedule — and this is back in those days when we had nine teams going to the NCAA Tournament. Then we’re going to be on national television more than anybody else in the country. So everybody might have their favorite teams around the country, but everybody is going to see us play. So when I see these teams on the country, I go ‘this takes us to all parts of the country and it exposes us to a lot of different places and it exposes our players to a lot of different styles of play. When we get to the NCAA Tournament, there’s nothing we haven’t seen.’”
- Count Auriemma on board with the proposals to allow student-athletes to make money off their own likenesses and endorsements.
Geno Auriemma on college players potentially getting paid:— Alex Putterman (@AlexPutterman) October 14, 2019
"All these people that are crying that it's going to be the end of the world as we know it in college athletics, they're just going to have to get used to it. This is what's coming, and that's the way it's going to be."