(WTNH)–The UConn women have taken home yet another NCAA championship, their fourth straight and 11th in 22 years. It just keeps getting more and more remarkable what Geno’s girls have been able to accomplish.
This group of Huskies is certainly legendary–and their holding captive of the NCAA Tournament over the last four years will go down in history as one of the most impressive accomplishments in sports.
But there is some good news for people like Dan Shaughnessy: the Huskies should come back down to Earth next season. Gone are the history-making trio of Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, and replacing them won’t be easy. UConn does have a good nucleus returning–Kia Nurse, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier and Gabby Williams–but whether or not that group is ready to win titles on its own remains to be seen.
Geno Auriemma has just three players in his 2016 recruiting class, and only one All-American. But as he’s explained many times before, it’s not the recruiting rankings and national accolades that matter.
ESPN Class Rank: #3
GENO’S TAKE: “Crystal is one of those unique little guards, like Moriah Jefferson, where she is strong enough and quick enough that she can get things done that a lot of players can’t. She gets to spots on the floor, on offense and defense, which a lot of kids can’t. I think with Moriah graduating, Crystal is going to come in and have a chance to have an impact right away.”– via TheUConnBlog
ESPN Class Rank: #15 at her position
GENO’S TAKE: “Kyla is the kind of kid that we have taken great pride in getting over the last 30 years. She is a hard-working, high-energy kid and has skills that allow her to play more than one position. She knows how to play the game. She is exactly the kind of kid that we have looked for at UConn and the fact that she has some connections to Connecticut is an added bonus. We are really excited about having her and her family as part of our program.”–via TheUConnBlog
ESPN Class Rank: #25 at her position
Bent was offered by UConn after Huskies assistant Marisa Moseley showed up early to an AAU tournament–one featuring Irwin–and was impressed by her. She didn’t have “the prestigious national awards, or a five-star recruiting ranking,” but according to ESPNW’s Harold Gutman, UConn coaches didn’t care about that.
“When I talked to them they said the rankings don’t matter to them,” Bent told ESPNW. “It’s whoever can come in and contribute and play hard. They said that I knew the game. I might not be as athletic or as tall as some of the people that are ranked or have most of the attention on them, but they liked that I knew how to play.”
GENO’S TAKE: “Molly loves the game as much as anyone I’ve seen in the last 30 years. And I think the people here are going to really enjoy watching her play.”