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The UConn Fast Break - 2/17/2023

Hoops season hits a crucial stretch while baseball and softball are getting started. Meanwhile, hockey had an unfortunate weekend.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

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Baseball Season Begins

After a 50-win 2022 campaign that saw the Huskies come within one game of the College World Series in 2022, UConn baseball storms into 2023 with a team that has the potential to break through for its first trip to Omaha since 1979.

This year’s squad features key returners like Ian Cooke and Ben Huber, with newcomers Dominic Freeberger and Stephen Quigley looking to take the Huskies to new heights.

Jim Penders and the Huskies start a four-game series against Ohio State today. The season opener is at 7 p.m. and all four contests will be on FloSports.

The UConn Blog has covered the baseball team and its inspiring postseason adventures for a long time. We’ve sent writers to multiple conference tournaments and NCAA Regionals. The new Hook C Baseball newsletter is our latest attempt to go even further with coverage and analysis of this team that you can’t get anywhere else.

We’ll be writing and tweeting all season, from Ohio State until the last game of the NCAA Tournament. Follow us @TheUConnBlog, @StorrsCentral, @ShawnMMcGrath, @DanielVConnolly, @Ian_Bethune and @LukeFrom2011!

Weekly Rewind


A look at the outfield - The Huskies get TC Simmons and Korey Morton back for 2023 after strong seasons last year.

Opponent previews - UConn baseball will face off against 27 schools in 2023. Learn about its weekend opponents and midweek foes.

Big East preview - UConn is the favorite, but will compete with these seven schools for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Newcomers to make an impact - With so much production to replace, the Huskies brought in some transfer firepower.

Returners to take the leap - Jim Penders has some players back this year ready to break out in 2023.

Ohio State preview - The Huskies will open the season with a four-game set against Ohio State in Florida.

Men’s Basketball

Creighton takes the win - It was a defensive battle that came down to the final seconds, but the Bluejays won by three. Bench play has continued to improve as the stretch run begins.

Nahiem Alleyne as the first guy off the bench? - Why a lineup with Alleyne could push the Huskies to new heights.

UConn: The advanced stats darling - Did you know 17 of the last 20 championship teams were top-six in KenPom?

Resumé rundown - Selection Sunday is less than a month away.

Sanogo making lists - The big man is on the Naismith Player of the Year midseason team and is a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award.

Moving up in AP Poll - A big win over Marquette helped push UConn to No. 20 in the AP Poll.

Women’s Basketball

Huskies survive Creighton - The Huskies were down double digits in the fourth quarter but pulled out a win.

Hoyas halted - A well-earned win to avoid extending the losing streak.

Aubrey Griffin unsure about future - The forward is completing her degree this year but can return to UConn.

UConn WBB Weekly - Read all about the newest Husky, Jana El Alfy.

Chasing Perfection - The latest episode of the podcast talks about the start of the stretch run.

End of streak is a symbolic shift ($) - UConn hadn’t lost back-to-back games in nearly 30 years. Women’s basketball has changed almost beyond recognition since then.

Men’s Hockey

Sweep at UNH - It was a disaster weekend for the Huskies, as a Friday loss was compounded by a second defeat on Saturday against New Hampshire. | Friday photos | Saturday photos

Bracketology ($) - UConn went from the last team in, to the third team out over the weekend.

Worst weekend of the season ($) - Mike Cavanaugh’s team was lifeless on Friday and couldn’t get a win in overtime on Saturday, getting swept for the first time this season.


Arsenii Sergeev knows how to use the paddle. The goaltender made a downright ridiculous save on New Hampshire’s Ryan Black to help push the game to overtime and get UConn a point on Saturday.

Memory Lane

Let’s turn back the clock to the baseball team’s 2022 College Park Regional final, specifically the winner-take-all Game 7. Justin Willis threw two perfect innings to close out the 11-8 win that was filled with drama.

No. 15 Maryland appeared to cut its deficit to 10-9 on a chopper up the first base line by Chris Alleyne, but because he ran inside the baseline, it was called interference when he collided with first baseman Ben Huber. Alleyne was called out, the runner was sent back to third and the rally was killed. Willis got all three outs in the ninth and the dogpile was on as the Huskies went to Super Regionals for the first time since 2011.

UConn, Great Pic

It was a brutal weekend at Whittemore Center Arena, where UConn men’s hockey lost a pair to New Hampshire. Despite the losses, our photographer Ian Bethune was there to grab some great shots.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Parting Thoughts

This is an incredibly exciting time of year.

Winter sports are winding down the regular season, with post-season anticipation mounting, while the baseball and softball seasons are starting as well. Conference tournaments in basketball and hockey are imminent, with both of UConn’s hoops and hockey teams chasing championships and NCAA Tournament glory.

We’ve already told you a lot about baseball, but don’t sleep on the softball team, either.

Last year, in head coach Laura Valentino’s third season, the Huskies won the Big East regular season crown and just missed an NCAA bid after losing to Villanova in the conference tournament finals. It was their second time in a row making the Big East Tournament finals, and optimism is high after the 38-win effort in 2022. Valentino and her staff were named the league’s coaching staff of the year, and they’ve yet to end a season with a record below .500, including the 2020 season that was cut short after a 16-5 start.

It’s always great to expand your horizons as a Huksy fan. If you mostly follow football and hoops, baseball, softball, hockey or soccer are all really fun teams to follow with dedicated fanbases.

Come, join us deep in the rabbit hole!

Be sure to follow The UConn Blog!