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Nov. 09, 2015
Nov. 09, 2015

Table of Contents
Nov. 9, 2015

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  • FOR THREE DECADES THE ROYALS WANDERED IN THE BASEBALL DESERT, LOSING MORE GAMES THAN ANY OTHER CLUB. THE DROUGHT IS OVER, THE RESULT OF A NEW MODEL FOR HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED, THOUGH ONE THAT IS NOT EASILY REPLICATED

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THE SECOND TIER: Players of the Year
FRED VANVLEET
POINT AFTER
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1 | UCONN

NO SURPRISES IN STORRS

This is an article from the Nov. 9, 2015 issue

As they traveled through Europe in October as part of a U.S. national team pre-Olympic tour, UConn coach Geno Auriemma and star senior forward Breanna Stewart continued a conversation that started the month before. "We talked about all the distractions and all the drama with wanting to win four national championships and do something no other college kid has done before," Auriemma says. "We talked about all the hoopla surrounding the WNBA draft [in which Stewart is the likely No. 1 pick]. We talked about all of those things so there are no surprises this year."

What would be a surprise? The Huskies not re-re-repeating as champion. Along with the multifaceted Stewart, a two-time national player of the year, they have All-America point guard Moriah Jefferson (4.9 assists per game, 49.6% from three-point range) and the nation's top recruit, 6'3" Katie Lou Samuelson, a sharpshooting wing who has Stewart's lanky, long-armed build. "If we are going to win a national championship, Katie Lou is going to be a big part of that, believe me," Auriemma says.

Auriemma has already addressed his team about what it will take to make history for seniors Stewart and Jefferson. "I think the biggest motivator for us," he says, "is we are the only team in America that wants us to win."

TEAM STATS

SCORING OFFENSE 89.3 (1st)

SCORING DEFENSE 48.6 (1st)

AAC RECORD 18--0 (1st)

X-FACTOR

Finally fully recovered from knee surgeries in 2013 and '14, 6'2" junior forward Morgan Tuck should get the recognition her play deserves. Tuck's 19.2 points (on 60.8% shooting) led UConn during the 2015 NCAA tournament.

LINEUP

With 2014--15 stats

Coach Geno Auriemma (31st season)

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
PG Moriah Jefferson 5'7" Sr. 12.4 2.9 4.9 58.7 84.3
SG Kia Nurse 6'0" Soph. 10.2 3.1 2.8 48.6 72.2
G Gabby Williams 5'11" Soph. 8.3 5.7 1.3 63.7 80.5
F Breanna Stewart 6'4" Sr. 17.6 7.8 3.1 53.9 75.0
F Morgan Tuck 6'2" Jr. 14.4 5.5 2.9 59.6 46.2
G-F Katie Lou Samuelson* 6'3" Fr. 29.2 8.6 2.0 62.2 89.4

*High school stats

TOURNAMENT TRACKER

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

NCAA CHAMPS

TITLE GAME

FINAL FOUR

ELITE EIGHT

SWEET 16

ROUND OF 32

ROUND OF 64

'11--12

'12--13

'13--14

'14--15

'15--16

TWO PHOTOSLM OTERO/APCHART