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UConn WBB Weekly: The greatest numbers in program history

Some digits have seen more success than others.

UConn’s Diana Taurasi SetNumber: X67555 TK1 R5 F28

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The greatest numbers in program history

UConn women’s basketball may be facing a jersey number problem in the coming years. In college basketball, jerseys can only have the digits 0-5 in order to make it easier for officials to signal which player committed a foul to the official scorer. The Huskies have also never handed out 00, 0, or 1, leaving even fewer options.

So what’s the issue? After Rebecca Lobo was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, UConn retired No. 50 in her honor. But if the school decides to retire the number of every player enshrined in Springfield, they might start running low on options.

Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are both locks for the Hall of Fame and Maya Moore should get in as well. Meanwhile, Breanna Stewart has the accolades already and just needs to play a while to rack up those career totals. That would take No. 3, 10, 23, and 30 out of circulation and also doesn’t account for anyone else (like a current or future player) becoming a Hall of Famer either.

Of course, it’s a lovely problem to have, one that UConn would certainly be happy to figure out.

Not all jersey numbers in program history are equal, though — some have been worn by multiple UConn greats. With the season still two months away, let’s look at the greatest jersey numbers in program history.

No. 3

Notables: Diana Taurasi, Tiffany Hayes, Morgan Tuck, Megan Walker, Aaliyah Edwards

If it was only worn by Diana Taurasi, the greatest women’s basketball player of all-time, No. 3 would still be pretty good. Add in three other All-Americans, a combined six national champions, and an Olympian and this has an argument to be the best number in program history.

No. 5

Notables: Debbie Baer, Maria Conlon, Caroline Doty, Crystal Dangerfield, Paige Bueckers

Until Paige Bueckers’ arrival, No. 5 was reserved for guards who were really good but not quite All-American level. Debbie Baer was a foundational piece on UConn’s first Final Four squad, Maria Conlon and Caroline Doty were both important role players on three national championship teams and Crystal Dangerfield was a great floor general for three seasons. Now, Bueckers give the digit star power as one of the most recognizable women’s basketball players at any level.

No. 10

Notables: Laura Lishness, Sue Bird, Nika Mühl

While Sue Bird is the most iconic UConn player to wear No. 10, Laura Lishness was Sue Bird before Sue Bird. The floor general of the 1991 Final Four squad, Lishness helped lay the foundation for all the program’s success that followed. Bird needs no introduction and nobody touched No. 10 for 14 years after she graduated — not until fan-favorite Molly Bent in 2016. She handed it off to Nika Mühl, who currently wears it for the Huskies and many think has a bright career ahead of her.

No. 23

Notables: Rita Williams, Swin Cash*, Willnett Crockett, Maya Moore, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Azura Stevens

In terms of volume, No. 23 has more quality players than any other number. Maya Moore is self-explanatory, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was an All-American, and Rita Williams, Swin Cash (wore 23 as a freshman), Willnett Crockett, and Azura Stevens were all important contributors during their respective time in Storrs. In fact, No. 23 has been worn by more UConn players than any other number.

No. 24

Notables: Kerry Bascom, Charde Houston, Napheesa Collier, Anna Makurat

It’s fitting that Kerry Bascom and Napheesa Collier wore the same number. Bascom is perhaps the most underrated player in program history as the star of the ‘91 team while Collier never really got her proper due with the Huskies. Meanwhile, Charde Houston had a solid career and Anna Makurat is the most recent player to wear No. 24.

No. 31

Notables: Wendy Davis, Carla Berube, Tina Charles, Stefanie Dolson

If all the players who wore each number were on a team, No. 31 would have a nearly unstoppable frontcourt trio of Carla Berube, Tina Charles, and Stef Dolson. It would also have some great coaching as Berube creating a powerhouse at Tufts before moving to Princeton while Wendy Davis is the head coach at St. Joseph’s in Hartford.

No. 33

Meghan Pattyson, Jamelle Elliott, Shea Ralph, Barbara Turner, Katie Lou Samuelson, Caroline Ducharme

Few jersey numbers have as much personality as No. 33 with the likes of Meghan Pattyson (now Culmo), Jamelle Elliot, Shea Ralph, and Katie Lou Samuelson all donning it. Samuelson wore it to honor Larry Bird, one of her favorite players, while Caroline Ducharme, a Massachusetts native, pointed to the history of great Boston athletes who wore No. 33 (Bird, Zdeno Chara, Kevin Faulk, Jason Varitek) as her inspiration.

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