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Starting 5 predictions for 2020



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I think some of the starters are obvious. Others are not, though some are more likely than others. Before I explain my choices, recall that some players (Kaleena and Kiah) didn't start, but played major minutes. Conversely, some players limited by injuries (Caroline and Brit) started, but weren't able to play major minutes. I think a more meaningful exercise would involve ranking players by minutes played, minutes played in the first 2-3 quarters, and minutes played against ranked teams. Teams do not always start their best 5 players.

Christyn and Olivia will start. They are our most experienced players and arguably our two best players. Both have started for 2 years already. Evina also has started for 2 years, though not at UConn. If her health is ok, I think she starts.

That gives us 3 starters. I see what Anna adds in terms of moving the ball, scoring, and defending. She was a starter last year and did nothing to lose her starting position. I see her as the 4th starter.

The 5th starter is a really tough call. Aubrey, as the most experienced of the other returners, seems like a viable possibility and would likely play the PF slot. However, Geno may want to consider keeping her for the "energy player off the bench."

In terms of the newcomers, I think Paige and Aaliyah are the most likely to be starters. However, more than 300 teams would love to have Mir or Nika in their starting lineups. I don't see that for the Huskies.

So, who is the 5th starter? It may depend on how Geno wants to play. Looking at skills and size, I think Aaliyah may be our most natural PF. If Geno wants to go with a traditional, bigger lineup, she starts. If Geno is comfortable going smaller, or Evina has limited minutes, he may go with Paige as a starter.

I recall Geno and Sue noting that, the day Diana arrived on campus, she was the best player on the team. I heard the same about Maya. I don't recall the same about Stewie, but it may have been true. As much talent as there is on our team, I think Paige may be our best player from early on. She may defer a little, but she plays with an edge. She will be sensational soon. Paigemania comes to Storrs in the autumn of 2020.
I am rather neutral regarding the 5th starter when the season starts. I do think, however, that Edwards will likely be a starter when we play taller ranked teams both during the season but especially in the tournament. Not having enough real size with athleticism and versatility has really hurt the team when playing teams like Baylor.
 
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I think Edwards will be used as a back up to live since she’s now listed as a forward. I think Paige will be giving the Lou freshman treatment but eventually land a starting role over Griffin. Anna is now listed at 6’2 and I believe she was matched up with KiKi in the South Carolina game, and would also match up with whoever was playing the 4 when she would check in Baylor, if other natural small forward like Walker or KML could play the 4 in the UConn system I don’t see why Anna can’t.

Im sticking with my Paige, Evina, Williams, Ana, Liv starting 5 for this season.
 

Sluconn Husky

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Im sticking with my Paige, Evina, Williams, Ana, Liv starting 5 for this season.
Unless DePaul suddenly shows up on the schedule, I find it beyond hard to believe that the team will start four backcourt players. Even with taller guards that is too small a lineup. Griffin almost has to start, not because she's particularly tall, but because they will need her rebounding and defensive abilities.
 
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Unless DePaul suddenly shows up on the schedule, I find it beyond hard to believe that the team will start four backcourt players. Even with taller guards that is too small a lineup. Griffin almost has to start, not because she's particularly tall, but because they will need her rebounding and defensive abilities.
I think DePaul is already on the schedule, twice. And looking at the BE rosters there is a dearth of big power forwards. UConn has a wealth of big perimeter players and size will favor them in almost every game. Last year Ionescu proved to me that a guard can be a great rebounder.
 

Sluconn Husky

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I think DePaul is already on the schedule, twice. And looking at the BE rosters there is a dearth of big power forwards. UConn has a wealth of big perimeter players and size will favor them in almost every game. Last year Ionescu proved to me that a guard can be a great rebounder.

It may take me a while to realize UConn is in the Big East again.

Yeah, that's fine against DePaul. But I can't see Geno wanting to go four guards/wings except in rare matchups.
 
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I am rather neutral regarding the 5th starter when the season starts. I do think, however, that Edwards will likely be a starter when we play taller ranked teams both during the season but especially in the tournament. Not having enough real size with athleticism and versatility has really hurt the team when playing teams like Baylor.
I'm neutral as well. Too many possibilities this year. Too many unknowns.

However, I will be disappointed (though I will still understand the decision) if UCONN feels they need to "match up" with opposing teams. For example the situation you give with Edwards, if she wasn't good enough to start at all prior to the big game, but you are only starting her to match up, it goes contrary to what UCONN likes to do. Not saying "don't do it." And ofc how much of a difference is there if she doesn't start but ends playing 30 minutes anyway?

It's just that I can recall many years ago Chris Dailey interviewed postgame on WTIC and she was asked about her team matching up to another- and to paraphrase she said "We don't look to match up to other teams. We want to force the other teams to match up to us."

I'm hoping UCONN won't be "forced" into matching up with "Baylor." I'm hoping regardless of what lineup we put out there, the opposing team will be forced to match up with us.
 
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It may take me a while to realize UConn is in the Big East again.

Yeah, that's fine against DePaul. But I can't see Geno wanting to go four guards/wings except in rare matchups.

If all 4 perimeter players are terrific (not hard to believe), and if Muhl is solid (not hard to believe), to go along with ONO-- you still have an elite team playing small.

We were 5th in the country last year and got to Final Four the year before with a very small team.

Other than ONO being the center and only the center- all other positions UCONN has potentially terrific versatility (including Griff, Edwards, Evina, AMak, CWill and Paige). For example, even Paige can be a sg instead of a pg.

.
 

Sluconn Husky

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If all 4 perimeter players are terrific (not hard to believe), and if Muhl is solid (not hard to believe), to go along with ONO-- you still have an elite team playing small.

We were 5th in the country last year and got to Final Four the year before with a very small team.

Other than ONO being the center and only the center- all other positions UCONN has potentially terrific versatility (including Griff, Edwards, Evina, AMak, CWill and Paige). For example, even Paige can be a sg instead of a pg.

.

That team from two years ago's big problem was size though, and it was as much a reason as any that they lost to ND in the Final Four. Lack of size killed them against South Carolina last season too. I don't think it's fair to ONO to have to take on so much responsibility by herself with those lineups.
 

CocoHusky

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If all 4 perimeter players are terrific (not hard to believe), and if Muhl is solid (not hard to believe), to go along with ONO-- you still have an elite team playing small.
We were 5th in the country last year and got to Final Four the year before with a very small team.
Other than ONO being the center and only the center- all other positions UCONN has potentially terrific versatility (including Griff, Edwards, Evina, AMak, CWill and Paige). For example, even Paige can be a sg instead of a pg.
My question would be are you content being elite and making it to final 4s or do you want to be a Champion?
UCONN's most recent losses in the final four has been when the leading scorer or rebounder has been 6'1 or shorter and that includes a pretty elite players by the name of Maya Moore.
 
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That team from two years ago's big problem was size though, and it was as much a reason as any that they lost to ND in the Final Four. Lack of size killed them against South Carolina last season too. I don't think it's fair to ONO to have to take on so much responsibility by herself with those lineups.
I agree that you are probably right. I'm just offering alternatives. And I don't think what's "fair" to ONO matters if her perimeter players produce.

I agree lack of size has hurt- but it still can be good enough if you have perimeter players. For example, in 18-19 that UCONN team was very, very small (they couldn't count much on ONO as a frosh). It was a 1 point game with one minute left - and this year ONO is a probable A/A. Further UCONN shot 8-28 from 3. Despite getting as blitzed as bad as they did- and not shooting well- they were right there.

As far as SC- They got wiped out everywhere. They were 22-61 from the flor as well. For a small team that depends on shooting = they were 4-17 from 3. They has 12 assists and 15 turnovers. Walker, Williams and AMak were a combined 1-9 from 3.

This year's team's perimeter could be much better than last year's as a result outcome is possible to be different even when playing small.

I just think this team has an amazing ceiling - because I expect ONO to be solid-- and would it shock anyone if Paige, Evina, and CWill were all tremendous? And with these three with such high potential-- they would also naturally make AMak one scary threat from 3.

Overall I lean with what you're saying in terms of Edwards and Griff - but I say this with limited viewing of Edwards and Evina. I look at Evina and don't know if she'll be just slightly above average or POY. Similar with CWill - above average or a legit All-American. I know Paige is going to be terrific regardless but again her ceiling is extremely high too even as a frosh. If these 3 players "hit" to near their potential-- they have a tremendous, tremendous, tremendous perimeter game.

IMO what makes this backcourt potentially so different than in the recent past is that they have potentially two guards that consistently can be a force slashing to the basket along with the ability to shoot. And when they slash potentially there are two very good 3pt shooters (CWill ofc has to shoot better but defitniltey has the capability of doing so.).
 
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My question would be are you content being elite and making it to final 4s or do you want to be a Champion?
UCONN's most recent losses in the final four has been when the leading scorer or rebounder has been 6'1 or shorter and that includes a pretty elite players by the name of Maya Moore.
Not sure how to define "content." Yes last two years we were small. Last 4 years we have not won a title yet 3 years ago we had the 6'5 center in Stevens and we went no further than the prior year in which we were small as well. But I also look at that and the recent other seasons we haven't won- and compare them vs our championship teams - and all but one title we also had a 1st team all-american at a guard position. Thus we were less apt to go "22-61" from the floor in those big games like we did recently vs SC during reg. season this year. We haven't had the all-american guard step up in the 3 Final Fours that we've been beaten in the past few years.

I'm also scared of getting picked off before the Final Four such as E8 or S16. So to answer your question partially - I am more content going to FF rather than possibly losing in prior round. IMO it's partly why we continue to be so amazing recruiting; We're always always always playing the last week of the season. No other team can say they have done it near as well as UCONN has for so long. You go to UCONN you KNOW right off the bat you're playing in front of the largest National Audience year-over-year.

That's why I agreed with Carnac and posted on another thread to that other poster when it came to Azzi Fudd between UCONN and UCLA in which he or she made a comment about Ionescu and Nat'l Exposure. The point is- you go to UConn - you can count on getting enormous exposure because in part you always play in the final week- which generates the most excitement for the year.
 
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My question would be are you content being elite and making it to final 4s or do you want to be a Champion?
UCONN's most recent losses in the final four has been when the leading scorer or rebounder has been 6'1 or shorter and that includes a pretty elite players by the name of Maya Moore.
Then it could he a while before UConn wins a championship, Paige will probably lead the team in scoring for a while in the future, unless DeBerry or Brady does/can lead the team in scoring and I don’t think that will happen.
 
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Then it could he a while before UConn wins a championship, Paige will probably lead the team in scoring for a while in the future, unless DeBerry or Brady does can lead the team in scoring and I don’t think that will happen.
My question would be are you content being elite and making it to final 4s or do you want to be a Champion?
UCONN's most recent losses in the final four has been when the leading scorer or rebounder has been 6'1 or shorter and that includes a pretty elite players by the name of Maya Moore.
Pretty limited definition of "recent," since Maya won two championships (and was the leading scorer) just before she lost in her senior year.
 

CocoHusky

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I believe the five who start are the five who know the system and play well within the system, at least initially. That gives the advantage to the returning players.
Or it gives the advantage to the fastest learners. Which is why I would not count out Paige and Aaliyah as starters. Paige has been running a UCONN type offense since she was in middle school. She has also shown the ability to adept to different systems and style of play at USA basketball. Team Canada also runs a similar system which was one of the thing that shortened Kia Nurse's learning curve at UCONN and could do the same for Aaliyah. For Evina this will be a new system, a new position, while coming off two surgeries and 19 Months (April '19- November'20 ) off from game level basketball activity.
 
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That team from two years ago's big problem was size though, and it was as much a reason as any that they lost to ND in the Final Four. Lack of size killed them against South Carolina last season too. I don't think it's fair to ONO to have to take on so much responsibility by herself with those lineups.
And yet in 2017 UConn beat a S Car team that had Wilson and Coates starting against a UConn team of Samuelson, Collier, Williams, Nurse and Chong.
Now size is nice. I wish for the days when a Stokes was on the bench. But it isn't necessary.
 

Sluconn Husky

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And yet in 2017 UConn beat a S Car team that had Wilson and Coates starting against a UConn team of Samuelson, Collier, Williams, Nurse and Chong.
Now size is nice. I wish for the days when a Stokes was on the bench. But it isn't necessary.

UConn was the better team that year and had three of the best players in the nation. Gabby played much bigger than her actual height. However, UConn also lost to a Mississippi State team they were 22-point favorites over in large part due to a rebound differential.

I'm not a stickler for five 6-5 players, but, again, that small lineup would make ONO have to work harder than need be.
 
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UConn was the better team that year and had three of the best players in the nation. Gabby played much bigger than her actual height. However, UConn also lost to a Mississippi State team they were 22-point favorites over in large part due to a rebound differential.

I'm not a stickler for five 6-5 players, but, again, that small lineup would make ONO have to work harder than need be.
I don't get the point you are making about SC. Nor do I get the point that you are making about Miss State. Nor do I get "making ONO work harder."

Regards to SC vs UCONN - during regular season the smaller team which was UCONN was better than SC. So why is size such a big deal in all instances? Further, SC won the championship when they played smaller.

Regards to Miss State - Kia Nurse and Crystal Dangerfield were a combined 2-9 from the field with a combined number of 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 5 turnovers. Overall the team had 11 assists and 17 turnovers. OFC you can get some assists with a good low post game but the Miss State game was also lost on the perimeter. Just a little more that just 7 points, or one more assists, or possibly one less turnover gets them the win. OFC you can say that about any 1 point game-- but the numbers I'm citing above are abnormally very bad considering the quality of the guards. It's not something you should expect.

In regards to ONO- if the perimeter players play to their tempo and execute to their abilities- there is a good chance ONO's play can be good enough to win. It doesn't matter how hard ONO is working if other players can punish their counterparts moreso. In other words. overall make more of the opposing teams players work harder by the overall quality of play you put back on them. As we saw with SC- it doesn't have to be the biggest wins.

If size is a such a big deal then back in 2016 - then why didn't it do better the following year when UCONN had Stevens- a 1st round WNBA draft pick?

And in those two years we lost at the buzzer- who beat us on last second shots? Guards.
 

HGN

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I just checked the roster...

My prediction on the starting 5:

G - Bueckers
G - C Williams
G - Westbrook
F - Griffin
F/C - Nelson-Ododa

Sleeper of the bunch: Edwards... If she can play strong in the paint area she's going to get legit minutes. Footwork, touch is already there. Just want to see how strong she can be.


I think this team is dangerous folks... We have no one on this team shorter than 5' 10.. plenty of length... we also have what appears to be a bunch of high IQ players as well, that should blend quite well. Only concern I see is how we rebound in the paint. We got the warrior Griffin at only 6', but she's gonna need adequate support...


My 2 cents....
Ktuck911, I respectfully disagree on one selection. I do not think Bueckers will start on day one. I would replace her with Makurat. Bueckers will be just like most other superstars at Uconn beginning their freshman year, coming off the bench for a few games before starting.

Just my 1.5 cents.
 

CocoHusky

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I don't get the point you are making about SC. Nor do I get the point that you are making about Miss State. Nor do I get "making ONO work harder."
In the 2017 South Carolina game Coates pulled down 15 rebounds 7 of which were offensive. In the 2018 FF game Jessica Shepard pulled down 11 rebounds 5 of which were offensive. Last year against South Carolina Boston pulled down 11 rebounds 5 of which were offensive In the vast majority of those cases especially the offensive rebounds Shepard, Coates & Boston were simply bigger than Gabby or Napheesa or Megan and did not have to work very hard to get those rebounds. If we are going to play with a small line up then ONO must become a dominat rebounder. ONO is a good rebounder but far from dominat having barely led the team in rebounding last year.

And yet in 2017 UConn beat a S Car team that had Wilson and Coates starting against a UConn team of Samuelson, Collier, Williams, Nurse and Chong.
Now size is nice. I wish for the days when a Stokes was on the bench. But it isn't necessary.
Size is still very necessary because this is basketball.
 
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In the 2017 South Carolina game Coates pulled down 15 rebounds 7 of which were offensive. In the 2018 FF game Jessica Shepard pulled down 11 rebounds 5 of which were offensive. Last year against South Carolina Boston pulled down 11 rebounds 5 of which were offensive In the vast majority of those cases especially the offensive rebounds Shepard, Coates & Boston were simply bigger than Gabby or Napheesa or Megan and did not have to work very hard to get those rebounds. If we are going to play with a small line up then ONO must become a dominat rebounder. ONO is a good rebounder but far from dominat having barely led the team in rebounding last year.


Size is still very necessary because this is basketball.
Helpful but not necessary. Very helpful. But UConn has won titles with a centers under 6'2". And they lost one with a 6'5" post sitting on the bench because she didn't have the talent for a NC game.
Give me 2 equally talented players I'll take the tall one, but players are rarely equal and at any given position I'd rather have the more skilled player than the tallest.

Barbara Turner (6') or Natalie Butler6'5"?
 

UConnCat

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Tennesse routinely out-rebounded UConn when the two teams met in the Final Four in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004. In fact, if you look at the box scores of UConn's Final Four wins in those match-ups, Tennessee grabbed 15, 20, 20 and 17 offensive rebounds, respectively. Do I often wish UConn were a better rebounding team? Sure, but the program has had a lot of success while losing rebounding battles.
 
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Aaliyah Edwards was the youngest member of Canadian National Women Basketball team at age 17. Cannot wait to see her paly with the 6'5" Gabriel.
The thing that impressed me was that she was a junior in HS and she was playing against Phessa most of the time in the USA vs Canada in a preseason tournament. She did not look overmatched. Canada was very weak at the guard position and Edwards did not get the ball much but she rebounded and scored on put backs. She ran the court on breaks and played good team and individual defense. She also understood team offense such as screening and options of passing and movements to open spots very well. She will get her minutes and she will produce by sheer effort.
 
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I think everything hinges on Westbrook’s health. If her knee holds up, and she’s good to go, she starts. If not Bueckers starts at guard and learns “OJT“, just like Christyn and Kia did.

I’ve noticed that more and more posters have Aubrey in their starting 5. That was not the case back in April/May. Aaliyah was the consensus to fill that spot back then.
I totally agree that the starting lineup with Carnac the "Wizzard of Storrs" will be based on Health. And who can knock down three's will certainly play as well. Things can change over the summer and fall but we all have seen Anna after her
O for America early woes turn into a 3 ball terror. I have seen so many videos of Paige knocking down 3 balls as early as 8th grade and who hasn't seen the Bueckers vs Fudd shooting contests. Rebounding against Baylor type teams will be interesting. We will adjust to them or will they adjust to us. We also have GENO THE GREAT
 
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Tennesse routinely out-rebounded UConn when the two teams met in the Final Four in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004. In fact, if you look at the box scores of UConn's Final Four wins in those match-ups, Tennessee grabbed 15, 20, 20 and 17 offensive rebounds, respectively. Do I often wish UConn were a better rebounding team? Sure, but the program has had a lot of success while losing rebounding battles.
Most of those Tenn OB's were due to their poor shooting in close. Tenn was famous for sending 4 players to the offensive boards and just physically hammering their opponents. Summitt's style was long on effort and physical domination and short on team skills. But in those 2003 & 2004 games it was Barb Turner at 6' who got all the contested rebounds late.
 

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