The offseason is officially over. On Wednesday, UConn women’s basketball will kick off its 2023-24 season at the XL Center against the Dayton Flyers.
It’s been eight months since the Huskies last played a game — and much has changed. Paige Bueckers is back, a new crop of freshmen are in and the returners are all looking to improve.
In that time, we’ve put out plenty of content about the team and now that a new season is upon us, we put all of it in one place: The ultimate 2023-24 UConn women’s basketball megapreview.
Before we dive into it, here’s where to find our coverage this season:
The UConn Blog — News and game recaps.
The UConn WBB Weekly (free) — The Weekly, which goes out every Thursday morning, is a recap of everything that happened (you guessed it) the previous week with the Huskies. Complete with links, social media posts and a unique story, it’s a must-read for fans of the 11-time national champions. The free coverage on the newsletter will also include reported stories and other content about the team.
The UConn WBB Weekly (premium) — For $6/month or $70/year, you can get the best coverage of the Huskies on the internet. Premium subscribers receive in-depth previews of each game, insights and analysis, film room breakdowns and other exclusive stories that you won’t find anywhere else. All for the price of a couple cups of coffee per month.
If you haven’t joined already, take advantage of this exclusive offer: 20% off an annual subscription if you sign up by the end of this week with this link: Season Opening Sale.
Our staff includes:
Daniel Connolly — I’m entering my ninth season covering UConn women’s basketball and fourth since launching the Weekly back in 2020.
Megan Gauer — Our numbers and national expert, Megan is a key part of our writing team and also co-hosts the Chasing Perfection podcast (more on that later).
Out: Lou Lopez Sénéchal, Dorka Juhász (WNBA)
In: KK Arnold, Qadence Samuels, Ashlynn Shade (all freshmen)
Back from injury: Paige Bueckers, Ice Brady
Out with injury: Jana El Alfy (Achilles)
- UConn women’s basketball releases full 2023-24 schedule
- UConn hires Tonya Cardoza, Ben Kantor as additional assistant coaches
- Jana El Alfy to miss entire 2023-24 season with Achilles tendon rupture
- Paige Bueckers tabbed as Big East Preseason Player of the Year, UConn picked first in conference, three players named to all-league team
- UConn women’s basketball ranked No. 2 in AP Preseason Poll
Nov. 8: Season opener vs. Dayton (XL Center)
Nov. 16: First game at Gampel Pavilion (vs. Maryland)
Dec. 18: Big East opener vs. Butler (XL Center)
Dec. 20: Final game before the holidays (Toronto Metropolitan)
Dec. 31: First game back from the break (Marquette, XL Center)
Feb. 28: Senior night (Villanova, Gampel Pavilion)
Mar. 2: Regular season finale at Providence
Mar. 9-11: Big East Tournament at Mohegan Sun
Mar. 17: Selection Sunday
The homecomings: Nov. 19 at Minnesota (Paige Bueckers), Dec. 6 vs. Ball State (Nika Mühl), Dec. 20 in Toronto (Aaliyah Edwards)
The big non-conference games: Nov. 16 vs. Maryland, Nov. 24-25 vs. UCLA and Kansas at the Cayman Islands Classic, Dec. 3 at Texas, Jan. 27 vs. Notre Dame, Feb. 11 at South Carolina
Our UConn women’s basketball podcast, Chasing Perfection, is entering its fourth season. Hosted by me, Daniel Connolly, and Megan Gauer, the weekly show covers everything happening in the world of the Huskies — from game reactions, previews and all the fun stuff in between.
What we’ve seen (so far)
- What UConn hopes to gain from its European trip
- Film Room: UConn’s freshmen show out in European opener
- Film Room: UConn benefits from some competition during its second game in Europe
- Film Room: UConn missing a big opportunity with frontcourt usage in Europe
- Film Room: Azzi Fudd demonstrated a refreshing steadiness in Europe
- What we learned from UConn’s four games in Europe
- What UConn learned about itself in Europe
Quote of note: “I liked what I saw when we were at our best. That looked really, really good. And when we were at our worst, that’s why God invented red wine.” — Geno Auriemma on his team’s performances in Europe
- What UConn learned from its secret scrimmage
- Stock Watch: Who’s up and who’s down after UConn’s exhibition
Team talking points
First up? The vibes:
Whereas legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson used to love coming up with a theme for every season — he famously called his last year with the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls “The Last Dance” — Auriemma wants nothing of the sort.
“This isn’t a 1970s rock band out for their 60th tour and they have to give every tour a name,” he said. “Everybody’s got “Redeem Team” and everybody’s got “Reload Team” and everybody’s got “Unfinished Business Team” and everybody’s got all this stuff going out there.”
After much consideration, he came up with something suitable for his tastes.
“How about we just shut the f—k up and win games?” he said. “How about we just do that? Maybe that’s what the tour should be: ‘Shut the f—k up and win games.’”
- UConn’s problems went beyond injuries last season
- UConn believes it has “something special” with this year’s team
- With extra excitement, UConn starts official practice earlier than usual
- Geno’s spiritual beads are UConn’s latest attempt to turn luck around
- UConn’s main goal this season? Just have fun
Now, into the nitty-gritty of play style and players:
- With backcourt re-stocked, UConn ready to bring back press defense
- How will UConn divide up minutes this season?
- Frontcourt preview
- Backcourt preview
- UConn women’s basketball breaks down its own roster
The Paige Bueckers section
No storyline is bigger this season than the return of Paige Bueckers after she missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
How injuries forced Paige Bueckers to become a better version of herself: ‘There’s just a maturity about her’
The circumstances of the two injuries — a tibial plateau fracture and lateral meniscus tear in 2021 followed by a torn ACL in 2022 — forced Bueckers to mature faster than she would’ve otherwise. Before going down, she admitted that she thought she was invincible because she’d never dealt with any major injuries.
Bueckers hit with a dose of reality — twice. But instead of getting down on herself, she put her head down and went to work. She didn’t let the time away from the court go to waste and has come back with a professional approach to the game.
“This is the most time she has spent working on her body, her mind, just taking care of herself. And usually a lot of this stuff for these kids doesn’t happen until they get to the pros,” Auriemma said. “There’s just a maturity about her… She’s still a kid trying to figure it out, but she’s got it figured out as best as you can be figured out by a kid her age having gone through what she’s gone through.”
- Paige Bueckers making a difference in UConn’s early practices
- Paige Bueckers plans to put on a show in her return to the court
- Paige Bueckers remains coy on future, says NIL money won’t impact decision
- Having Bueckers back “a breath of fresh air” for UConn
- Geno on Paige Bueckers: “I’ve never seen her better”
- Paige Bueckers is finally feeling like a basketball player again
UConn has three newcomers on the roster: KK Arnold, Ashlynn Shade and Qadence Samuels. All three are guards (though they will play in different spots) and all are expected to see the court from day one.
While the Huskies’ current crop of freshmen haven’t even played in a real game yet, Auriemma already believes they’ve hit a home run with the trio of KK Arnold, Qadence Samuels, and Ashlynn Shade.
“I think they’re gonna be terrific,” he said. “These guys love, love to be coached.”
- UConn’s freshmen are drawing rave reviews
- Chris Dailey breaks down UConn’s freshmen
- Ashlynn Shade loving her new life at UConn
- How a childhood obsession led Ashlynn Shade to her jersey number
- KK Arnold came to UConn to learn from the best
- KK Arnold finally sets the record straight on her height
Ice Brady’s back
After a promising offseason, Ice Brady hurt her knee in October last year and missed her entire freshman season. Now, she’s back on the court — with high expectations placed on her.
- UConn has high expectations for Ice Brady: ‘She’s going to be great this year’
- UConn has big plans for Ice Brady
The rest of the roster
- How Azzi Fudd is preparing to fulfill her immense potential
- New year, new role for Nika Mühl: “As she goes, so does our team”
- The year of Nika Mühl: ‘I’m never going to forget those moments’
- Nika Mühl is laser-focused on a national championship
- Nika Mühl “counting the days” until matchup against her sister
- ‘This is gonna be her year’: UConn eager to have a fully healthy Caroline Ducharme
- Why Aubrey Griffin came back to UConn
- Aaliyah Edwards confident she’ll still improve with Canadian national team this summer: ‘I’m staying true to who I am as a player’
- Aaliyah Edwards wants to “sell out the whole building” for homecoming game in Toronto
- Film Room: Inês Bettencourt was better than expected