Welcome to the UConn WBB Weekly, a recap of everything that happened in the world of UConn women’s basketball over the past week.
The Weekly is a newsletter! Subscribe to get it in your inbox every Thursday at 7 a.m. before it hits the site.
From the UConn WBB Weekly:
- Film Room: What went wrong in UConn’s Final Four loss to Arizona (Part one)
- Christyn Williams breaks down UConn’s newcomers
“Few UConn players are more forthcoming than Christyn Williams...Even though Geno Auriemma broke down (most of) the roster last week, Williams has a different perspective than her head coach and provided an honest evaluation of UConn’s five(ish) newcomers.”
From The UConn Blog:
- Chasing Perfection: UConn’s summer session impressions
- Geno Auriemma says the competition for playing time is heating up
- Geno Auriemma breaks down UConn women’s basketball’s roster one month into summer workouts
- Azzi Fudd’s confidence on the court reminds Geno Auriemma of Paige Bueckers
- Christyn Williams on her senior year: “I gotta kick some ass”
- Evina Westbrook “just kind of knew” she’d be returning to UConn
- Former UConn star Gabby Williams named to French Olympic team
- UConn women’s basketball to play Georgia Tech for Olivia Nelson-Ododa’s homecoming
Last week’s Weekly:
Evina Westbrook no longer just “Momma E”
In sports, it’s a common cliche for teams to refer to themselves as families.
But last year, UConn took that metaphor literally. With the team forced to stay in pods — the players they lived in the same apartment with — last summer, Evina Westbrook was paired with two then-freshmen: Nika Mühl and Autumn Chassion. Though Westbrook initially thought of them as little sisters, Mühl and Chassion took it a step further.
“We always joke about how Evina is like our mom in our pod,” Mühl said at the time. “She’s been taking very good care of us.”
“They’re like my sisters, all of them. Especially Evina, she’s like a mom to all of us in the pod,” Chassion echoed. “It’s just me and Nika but she’s the oldest on the team. She’s like a mom, she takes care of us, anything we need, she’s there. All the time.”
The title stuck and Westbrook soon became known as “Momma E” to the rest of the team.
With a new season underway, the now-sophomores are no longer the youngest players on the squad. That doesn’t mean Westbrook’s role changes, though — at least, not for them.
“My kids are the sophomores now,” Westbrook said. “They told the freshmen they’re not allowed to call me mom. That they’re only allowed to call me mom.”
So naturally, the freshmen have made Westbrook their grandmother — or “g-ma”. The senior isn’t a fan of that one, though, and asked for suggestions for something different.
“I don’t like it,” she said. “I don’t like that one but I gotta go with it because they’re not allowed to call me mom.”
In the middle of the two classes is Saylor Poffenbarger. As an early enrollee who joined the team in January, she’s not quite part of the sophomore class but she’s not really a freshman, either. So what does she call Westbrook?
“Saylor’s a tweener,” Westbrook said. “They (the sophomores) don’t really let her call me mom either. So she’ll be like ‘Mom’ but then she’ll be like ‘E’ if she’s unsure. So she gets the role of both. She can get away with both, mom and grandmother.”
In fact, the family has expanded beyond Westbrook. Dorka Juhász is Auntie Dorka, Olivia Nelson-Ododa is Cousin Liv and Christyn Williams is the deadbeat dad.
“They started calling her dad (then) said she’s never around,” Westbrook said.
But for as much as she complained about being called a grandmother, Westbrook knew this is the sort of thing she signed up for when she decided to return to Storrs for another season.
“I couldn’t leave them,” she said about her teammates. “I couldn’t leave them just yet.”
Best of social media
Paige Bueckers is entertaining even when she’s not playing:
Here’s one minute and 38 seconds of Paige mic’d up.— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) July 2, 2021
Napheesa Collier threw out the first pitch at a Twins game recently:
First order of business for Welcome Back Week: A first pitch from Napheesa Collier and the @minnesotalynx. #OneMN | #MNTwins pic.twitter.com/iQRBmUCLSK— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) July 5, 2021
...and threw a perfect strike:
Sue Bird’s thoughts on NIL in college vs. the WNBA:
Sue Bird on NIL, and the relative popularities of the WNBA and women's college ball:— Em ️ (@themidler1) July 7, 2021
(Q: @percyallen)i pic.twitter.com/LQI5JRrZWK