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:
- Mailbag: What will UConn’s starting lineup be next season?
- The numbers that defined UConn’s 2022-23 season
From The UConn Blog:
- UConn women’s basketball to host Ball State in battle of Mühl sisters
- UConn women’s basketball to play in 2023 Cayman Islands Classic
2022-23 UConn roster review
UConn had two versions of its team this past season: The roster — the group of players on the squad — and those who were actually available to play. The former remained steady. The latter seemed to change game-by-game.
Lou Lopez Sénéchal
After transferring in from Fairfield, Lopez Sénéchal blew away all expectations in her one season at UConn. She was one of two players to appear in every game and finished second on the team with 15.5 points per game. While she came to Storrs hoping for a more complementary role, Lopez Sénéchal ended up carrying the Huskies on her back for stretches, just as she did with the Stags. It all worked out, though — the exposure helped her to fly up WNBA draft boards and the Dallas Wings took her with the fifth overall pick.
Lopez Sénéchal might’ve only been at UConn one year, but she firmed established herself as the best transfer in program history.
While she didn’t fulfill Geno Auriemma’s preseason prediction and become a top-five pick in the WNBA Draft, Juhász took a big step forward in her second season with the Huskies and became one of the team’s top players.
She suffered a broken thumb in the second game of the year against Texas and had to sit out seven games, but she returned with a near double-double against Florida State. Juhász went on to average 14.2 points and a team-best 9.9 rebounds per game while racking up 15 double-doubles.
She also helped replace Olivia Nelson-Ododa in the post by improving her passing en route to a 92-assist campaign — an impressive feat considering she totaled 129 helpers in the four years prior, and just 74 during her time at Ohio State.
After missing the entire 2021-22 season with a host of injuries, Griffin returned and looked no worse for wear. She had 13 points in the season opener and proceeded to reach double-figures in 20 of the first 24 games. Griffin played with a consistent confidence and also showed off a 3-point shot, hitting 16 of 55 (29.1 percent) after only making four 3-pointers in her first two seasons.
She tailed off over the last month and only surpassed the 10-point mark twice over the last 11 contests but dealt with back spasms during the postseason, which played a part in the dip.
As Edwards went, so did UConn. After a disappointing sophomore campaign, Edwards bounced back and earned AP and USBWA Third Team All-American honors after a 16.6-point, 9.0-rebound season in which she totaled 14 double-doubles — 11 more than she had in her entire career prior to this year. She also played in every game, which shouldn’t be taken for granted.
It wasn’t all perfect, though. A rough stretch in February likely cost her WBCA All-American status (which would’ve gotten her a spot in the Huskies of Honor) while her performance against Ohio State — four points in 18 minutes while dealing with foul trouble — ended the season on a sour note. Still, Edwards proved herself as one of the best players in the country and should only be better with a stronger surrounding cast next season.
With Paige Bueckers out for the year with a torn ACL, the weight of the entire offense rested on Mühl’s shoulders and she delivered. She hit the double-digit assist mark 12 times and set the program’s single-game record with 15 dimes against NC State en route to a program-record 284 assists on the season, shattering the previous mark of 231 set by Sue Bird in 2001-02.
Mühl improved her scoring as well, averaging 7.1 points and totaling 256, up from 139 through her first two years combined. Turnovers were a problem at 3.5 per game — including seven in the loss to Ohio State alone — but considering she was UConn’s only ball-handler for much of the season, Mühl played as well as could’ve been reasonably expected of her.
Mühl shattered UConn’s assists record with 284 total — 53 more than the previous mark set by Sue Bird in 2001-02. For reference, the difference between Bird in second and 10th place on the single-season assists list is 41. — From: The numbers that defined UConn’s 2022-23 season
Bueckers tore the ACL in her left knee — the same one that forced her to miss 19 games in 2021-22 — in August, which ended her season before it even began. She returned as a partial participant in practice towards the end of the year but there hasn’t been a formal update on her recovery in a while.
After starting the season on a national player of the year pace at 25.6 points through six games, Fudd went down with a right knee injury at Notre Dame on Dec. 4, returned for three quarters in mid-January, suffered another right knee injury, missed another month and a half then made it back in time for the postseason.
While she did have a 22-point effort in the second round against Baylor and put up 14 points in the Sweet Sixteen loss to Ohio State, Fudd never really knocked the rust off. After hitting 40.5 percent from three prior to the injury, she made just 23.4 percent from deep afterwards.
Even with all the injuries UConn dealt with, arguably nobody went through more than Ducharme this past season. She sat out the opener with neck stiffness, admitted early in the year that she wasn’t 100 percent physically then missed 12 games with a concussion that forced her to wear earplugs on the bench and required a trainer to apply ice to her head when she came out at times — not to mention the countless shots she took to the head.
As a result, Ducharme only played in 23 games and struggled to find a rhythm. Her scoring average dropped from 9.8 per game as a freshman to 7.4 and her shooting percentage fell from 45.5 percent to 40.3 percent.
Despite receiving high praise from Auriemma after the 2021 title game and spending all summer on campus, DeBerry failed to secure any significant playing time this past season. She played the fewest minutes on the team with 210, nearly all of which came after the game was decided.
While DeBerry flashed some potential — her 18 blocks were third best and she made 29.4 percent from three, not bad for a big — she’s struggled to show enough in practice to earn the trust of the coaching staff. This is a make-or-break offseason for the rising junior.
For all her strength and athleticism, Patterson struggled to carve out a consistent role for the Huskies. She flashed an ability to dominate the glass and even put up a 10-point effort at Maryland, but was often hampered by foul trouble. Patterson missed four games with a concussion in January but returned with a six-point, six-rebound performance in her first contest back.
Auriemma said in February that the freshman turned a corner in practice, but then she didn’t play against either Creighton or Villanova because of the matchup. The same thing happened in the Big East Tournament final, also vs. the Wildcats, but scored six points in 14 minutes against Vermont. Afterwards, Auriemma mentioned that the team needed Patterson down the stretch, but she only played one minute against Baylor and two against Ohio State.
Patterson is regarded as the top performer in the weight room, but she’s still a raw talent — especially on the offensive end around the basket. Despite that, it’s hard to understand why the freshman didn’t play more, especially since her work ethic has never been in question and UConn was often short on players.
Considering she committed to UConn nine days before the start of the semester and arrived in Storrs on the first day of classes, Bettencourt did about as well as she could’ve. She held her own when called into emergency duty against Princeton and Maryland, and proved to be a capable, end of the bench fill-in.
Brady missed the season after dislocating her right knee. By the end of the year, she had returned to individual work in practice and participated in drills that required her to run up and down the court at full speed, so her recovery seems to be progressing well. As with Bueckers, there hasn’t been an official update on Brady in a while.
Jana El Alfy
Originally a member of the 2023 recruiting class, El Alfy arrived at the start of the spring semester and spent the remainder of the season with the team to get acclimated to the program. She’ll be a few months ahead of UConn’s other three freshmen when summer workouts begin.