Welcome to the UConn WBB Weekly, a recap of everything that happened in the world of UConn women’s basketball over the past week from the team that runs The UConn Blog.
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From the UConn WBB Weekly Premium:
- What went wrong in UConn’s Sweet 16 loss to Ohio State
- UConn reaches “breaking point” in Sweet 16 loss to Ohio State
- Seattle Journal: UConn excited to be in Sue Bird’s house
- Why fellow Croatian Karla Vres isn’t surprised by Nika Mühl’s success at UConn
- No bad blood between Dorka Juhász and her former team
From The UConn Blog:
- Chasing Perfection: A bitter end
- How should UConn women’s basketball’s 2022-23 season be remembered?
- Dorka Juhász and Lou Lopez Sénéchal leave UConn as two of the best transfers in program history
- Sweet 16: UConn women’s basketball shocked by Ohio State, 73-61
- Photo gallery: Ohio State Buckeyes vs UConn women’s basketball - 2023 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
Last week’s Weekly:
What to watch for as UConn’s offseason begins
UConn is officially into the offseason after falling the Sweet Sixteen to Ohio State this past weekend. Even though the Huskies suffered their earliest defeat since 2005, they’re only done about a week earlier than usual.
These next two months before the start of summer workouts will be busy. Here’s what to keep an eye out for:
The transfer portal
Lou Lopez Sénéchal and Dorka Juhász are both gone after the pair exhausted their collegiate eligibility, but there’s always the possibility that more players could leave via the transfer portal. Since 2017, all UConn’s outgoing transfers have departed at some point in April, so if anyone from the current roster chooses to go elsewhere, it’ll likely happen in the next month.
As a rule, we don’t speculate on whether any specific players will transfer. However, the Huskies don’t have much room to add someone out of the portal. Currently, UConn has just one scholarship available and will add KK Arnold, Ashlynn Shade and Qadence Samuels as freshmen while Jana El Alfy and Ice Brady will finally get a chance to play as well.
That leaves the Huskies with six guards, five posts and three wings/positionless players — most of whom are in line for big minutes. Unless there’s a can’t-miss player on the market or the coaching staff feels there’s a major hole that needs to be addressed, UConn doesn’t appear to be a likely landing spot for any transfers.
Both Paige Bueckers and Brady are nearing the end of their respective recoveries from season-ending knee injuries. Brady has participated in practice during the window open to media over the last month or so — which included both individual work, team-wide drills and full-court sprints — and warmed up with the team during the NCAA Tournament.
Meanwhile, Bueckers has also been a partial participant in practice. She’s nearly eight months removed from surgery to repair her torn ACL, so she should be fully healed at some point during the summer (barring any setbacks).
The next time Geno Auriemma meets with the media (typically late May or June), there should be definitive updates on both players.
With no games for the next seven months, now is the time for players to get lingering injuries fixed. Last summer, Caroline Ducharme went under the knife to repair a torn hip labrum while the year before, Bueckers had ankle surgery and Christyn Williams underwent an operation on her elbow.
With the exception of Williams, these type of procedures happen between now and the start of summer workouts in late May. Some are relatively minor while others require an extensive recovery that takes up the entire offseason.
It’s possible nobody needs surgery, though that seems unlikely considering Azzi Fudd told The Athletic in October that her lingering foot problem “will be fixed after the season.’’
If anything does happen, it’ll be revealed in the next couple of months.
UConn’s non-conference schedule is nearly complete, though there are still a few holes remaining. The Huskies will either continue or complete series with Maryland and Notre Dame at home as well as Minnesota (for Paige Bueckers’ homecoming), NC State, South Carolina and Texas on the road. The Manchester JI’s Carl Adamec reported that UConn will begin a four-year series with Louisville in Connecticut next season as well.
That leaves the Huskies with a few openings left to fill. There’s two potential “homecoming” matchups that could happen — another game in Toronto for Aaliyah Edwards, similar to what the team did for Kia Nurse in 2017 or an intra-family matchup for Nika Mühl against Ball State, where her younger sister Hana plays.
The Huskies’ series with Tennessee also concluded with the most recent contest in Knoxville, though Auriemma said afterwards that it’s “still as good as any other non-conference game”. UConn could end up playing in an early-season tournament as well, such as the Phil Knight Legacy this past season or the Battle for Atlantis in 2021.
UConn does have more flexibility with its non-conference slate, though. In 2023-24, the Big East will change to an 18-game schedule instead of the 20-game double round robin format, which means the Huskies can play two additional non-conference matchups.
While the season doesn’t begin until November, news of any potential series, one-off games or tournaments should start to come out sooner than later.
Best of social media
Love this group pic.twitter.com/Z2yhOnL6Bd— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) March 28, 2023
Thanks for supporting us all season, UConn Nation— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) March 26, 2023
We love you pic.twitter.com/wERGizdQ5a
Proud of what this team accomplished through so much adversity #BleedBlue | @UConnWBB pic.twitter.com/9bAqRmexeY— UConn Huskies (@UConnHuskies) March 25, 2023
Dorka Juhász finished with 9.9 rebounds per game this season, the eighth-best mark in program history— Daniel Connolly (@DanielVConnolly) March 28, 2023
Only six players ever averaged more: Rosemary Borsuk, Peggy Walsh, Jody Eckert, Rebecca Lobo (2x), Renee Najarian and Napheesa Collier.