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UConn women’s basketball 2010s all-decade team

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Picking the 10 best players that helped lead the Huskies to unprecedented success over the last 10 years.

Photos: UConn Women’s Basketball 2016 National Championship On-Court Celebration

When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2010, UConn women’s basketball had just six national titles. The Huskies were roughly midway through a record-breaking win streak and had only made the Final Four twice in the five years prior. Breanna Stewart was a sophomore in high school. Aubrey Griffin was only nine years old.

Since then, UConn won five national championships — including four in a row — and set the longest winning streak in Division I history at 90 games, only to break it a few years later with 111 victories in a row.

In the 2010’s, the Huskies transformed from being one of the top programs in women’s college basketball into the gold standard. Simply being really good was no longer enough for UConn. Now, the Huskies are expected to be perfect every game of every season.

Even with all that winning and all the All-Americans, our voting panel of Megan Gauer, Dan Madigan and myself didn’t have too much trouble sorting out the all-decade team. The starters were unanimous and we eventually came to a consensus on the reserves as well.

A quick note on our selections: The players considered had to play between the 2009-10 (since the most important games of that season were played during the decade) and 2018-19 seasons. We also decided to just pick the five best players as the starters and the five best after that for the bench instead of trying to form the best lineup.

With that out of the way, let’s get into it:

Breanna Stewart

Photos: UConn Women’s Basketball 2016 National Championship On-Court Celebration

Stewart didn’t just say she wanted to win four national titles at UConn, she went out and did the damn thing. While it certainly wasn’t all on her own, Stewie was certainly the driving force behind it all.

Stewart is the program’s all-time shot blocker with 414 — 18 more than second place Rebecca Lobo — and in free throws made, ranks second in field goals made, third in scoring average and fourth in rebounds. She was also a three-time WBCA All-American and three-time WBCA National Player of the Year.

A knock on Stewart is her strong supporting cast — seven of her teammates are on this list — but make no mistake: Stewart was an unstoppable force on the court and helped create UConn’s current expectation of perfection. She’s one of — if not the best player in program history and may even be the best in the history of the sport as well.

Maya Moore

From the moment Maya Moore’s college career began, she dominated. She finished her career as the winningest player in NCAA history with a 150-4 record (Only bested by future Huskies Saniya Chong and Tierney Lawlor) and scored 3,036 points — the only player in program history to surpass 3,000. She was one of two players in history of the sport to be a four-time AP First Team All-American.

Moore had no weaknesses in her game. Over her two years in the decade, she recorded 20.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game as she guided the Huskies to a national title in 2010. Moore helped craft UConn’s 90-game win streak, the longest in Division I basketball history until some of her all-decade teammates topped it with a 111-straight wins.

Most players take some time to get adjusted to the college game, but not Moore. She was a transcendent player from the moment she stepped on campus and forged a legacy as one of the best to suit up in a UConn uniform.

Tina Charles

Charles only played one season in the decade. But in that one year, she was so good that we had to put her in the all-decade team’s starting lineup. As a senior, she averaged 18.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and earned honors as WBCA National Player of the Year and First Team All-American. With Moore as her running mate, the Huskies went 39-0 en route to the program’s seventh national title.

While longevity is certainly an important consideration, Charles was too dominant to leave off this list.

Moriah Jefferson

Photos-WBB: UConn Women’s Basketball vs Texas Longhorns

When talking about the great UConn floor generals, there’s Jen Rizzotti, Sue Bird, Moriah Jefferson and everybody else. What Jefferson lacked in size, she made up for with her energy and motor. She holds the top mark in program history for career assists and sits second in career steals.

Jefferson was a two-time Nancy Lieberman Award winner as the nation’s top point guard, a two-time WBCA All-American and the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. There was no shortage of talent around her during her four years but few could’ve always made the right pass to the right player the way Jefferson did.

Napheesa Collier

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Collier may well go down as one of the most underrated players in program history. Over the last three seasons of her careers as a starter, she averaged 19.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game and was thrice named a First Team WCBA All-American.

“I don’t think there’s any blood in Pheesa. Just wires. She’s a machine,” Geno Auriemma said, offering a perfect description of Collier.

Up until her senior year, it always seemed like Collier was overshadowed by someone else, whether it be Stewart or her own classmate in Katie Lou Samuelson. But in her final season, her play reached a point where it couldn’t be overlooked any longer. She averaged a double-double and recorded the most double-doubles in a season at UConn with 25 while also setting the program mark for single-season rebounds.

Collier didn’t win as many rings as the rest of the folks in the starting lineup, but basing her legacy off that is a poor way to remember one of the most consistent and dominant players that has ever come through Storrs.

Bench

While the five starters were easy picks, choosing the five next-best players turned out to be more difficult. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Katie Lou Samuelson were the two unanimous choices from our panel but the remaining three spots required some more debate.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis

From the start, Mosqueda-Lewis was a force to be reckoned with at UConn, as her 569 points sits behind only Maya Moore as the most by freshman. Mosqueda-Lewis became one of the preeminent three-point shooters in NCAA history, finishing her career with the most makes by any player, ever, at the time. She still holds the top spot in UConn history in that category and ranks second in three-point percentage.

As for accolades, she’s a three-time national champion, two-time WBCA All-American and notched UConn’s only postseason triple-double, getting 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against St. Joe’s in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Katie Lou Samuelson

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The year after UConn lost one sharpshooter from Mater Dei High School in California, it got another in Katie Lou Samuelson. She certainly lived up to her reputation, finishing behind only Mosqueda-Lewis on the school’s all-time three point list — a mark Samuelson likely would’ve surpassed if she didn’t miss 10 games due to injury.

Her perfect 10-of-10 performance from three in the AAC title game in 2017 remains one of the greatest singe-game efforts in UConn history, but Samuelson wasn’t just a three-point shooter. She developed into a lethal all-around scorer and with Collier, they became the highest-scoring class ever to play for the Huskies.

Stefanie Dolson

When Dolson got to Storrs, she had the unenviable task of being Charles’ replacement. Yet Dolson thrived under that pressure, landing two WBCA All-American honors and the 2014 WBCA Defensive Player of the Year Award. Dolson also became the second player in team history to record a triple-double and is one of eight in the 1,000 point, 1,000 rebound club.

Not only was Dolson one of the great personalities to grace UConn, she also helped bridge the gap between Moore and Stewart and played a crucial role on two national championship squads.

Gabby Williams

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Williams is the ultimate testament to Geno Auriemma and his coaching staff’s abilities. Although she barely played in high school due to two knee injuries, Auriemma saw potential and took a chance. Williams came to UConn as an athletic guard but the staff converted her to a 5-foot-11 center, where she transformed into a lockdown defender and a two-time WBCA All-American.

She spent two years as a solid bench piece on UConn’s loaded 2014-15 and 2015-16 rosters — winning the AAC’s Sixth Player of the Year Award in 2015 — before becoming a stat sheet stuffer and walking highlight reel in her final two seasons. Williams also became just the fifth player in program history to record a triple-double, doing so against ECU in 2017 with 16 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists.

Nobody in the country could do what Williams did on the court. And few, if any, were more fun to watch.

Morgan Tuck

Photos: UConn Women’s Basketball 2016 National Championship On-Court Celebration

As the third player in the “Big Three” that included Stewart and Jefferson, Tuck didn’t come into her own until the latter part of her collegiate career. As a freshman, she struggled with injuries before sitting out all but eight games as a sophomore. When Tuck finally returned for 2014-15, she filled the void left by the graduation of Dolson down low as UConn’s do-it-all big.

Tuck earned WBCA All-American honors each of her last two years and stepped up during the 2016 NCAA Tournament, averaging 19.0 points, 6.0 assists and 4.5 assists per game. Though she left with a year of eligibility left, Tuck still did enough during her two healthy seasons to earn the last spot on our team.

Honorable Mentions: Bria Hartley, Tiffany Hayes