UConn's Mount Rushmore

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Debate has already begun as to whether Paige Bueckers (based upon her magnificent year thus far) deserves enshrinement among UConn’s holy holies - Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, and Breanna Stewart. Based upon a freshman season of less than twenty games, she ranks with the best in the storied history of the Huskies. Her stats and heroics against Tennessee and South Carolina make this clear.

A deeper dive into frosh play reveals some differences that helps shed light on the extraordinary play of Bueckers thus far. We can do so by looking at the players around each super star. Lest we forget the player who held the first year scoring record until Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart came along was Svetlana Abrosimova. The seventeen year old phenom came from Russia to Storrs for the 1997-98 basketball season, one that seemed to offer a lot of promise, but Nykesha Sales suffered a season ending injury in the next to the last game against Notre Dame and the team lost in the regional final. Shea Ralph missed the entire season, but it was a pretty good team featuring seniors Sales and Rita Williams, junior Amy Duran, sophs Stacy Hansmeyer and Paige Sauer, and Abrosimova.

Diana Taurasi came to UConn in 2000 and that team was the most talented in Husky history - Abrosimova, Shea Ralph, Kelly Schumacher, Sue Bird, Ashja Jones, Swin Cash, and Tamika Williams. She came off the bench for much of the season. Most of Di’s heroics occurred in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. No superstars were on these teams, but Maria Conlon, Jessica Moore, Ashley Battle, Wilnett Crockett, Ann Strother, and Barbara Turner were not exactly chopped liver. Moore, Turner, and Strother were all quality players.

Maya Moore’s freshman season featured seniors Charde Houston, Brittany Hunter, and Mel Thomas, junior Renee Montgomery, and sophomores Tina Charles and Kalana Greene, and fellow frosh Lorin Dixon. Moore, if my memory is correct, moved into the starting lineup after the injuries to Thomas and Greene. As with Abrosimova, you knew Moore was special the first time she stepped onto the floor.

Breanna Stewart’s first team was also a deep one with Caroline Doty, Kelly Faris, Stephanie Dolson, Bria Hartley, Kaleena Mosquera-Lewis, Kiah Stokes, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck. Stewart had a solid freshman year and began to ascend into the ranks of the immortal with her play in the NCAA tournament.

As regards to Paige Bueckers, the supporting cast of upperclassmen is not as high as with the previous teams mentioned. Had Megan Walker returned for her senior year, the dynamics of the entire season would have been different. Walker would have been the returning star, senior leader, and first offensive option, thus Paige may have come off the bench until the Makurat injury. Since this year’s roster is not as strong as many previous ones, Bueckers has taken over. She has been the best player on the floor since her first game in a Husky uniform and this is not likely to change. What is also unprecedented is that she is also the team leader and a vocal one at that. All in all, her play thus far has set a new standard, as in her first 15 games she has led the squad in scoring in 9 and tied in 1.
 

oldude

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After DT, Maya & Stewie, that 4th player on UConn’s Mt Rushmore was always the subject of energetic debate here on the BY. Once Paige graduates, I don’t think there will be much debate.

“What about Azzi you say?” 🤔
 

SVCBeercats

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Debate has already begun as to whether Paige Bueckers (based upon her magnificent year thus far) deserves enshrinement among UConn’s holy holies - Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, and Breanna Stewart.

Diana Taurasi came to UConn in 2000 and that team was the most talented in Husky history - Abrosimova, Shea Ralph, Kelly Schumacher, Sue Bird, Ashja Jones, Swin Cash, and Tamika Williams. She came off the bench for much of the season. Most of Di’s heroics occurred in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. No superstars were on these teams, but Maria Conlon, Jessica Moore, Ashley Battle, Wilnett Crockett, Ann Strother, and Barbara Turner were not exactly chopped liver. Moore, Turner, and Strother were all quality players.
"whether Paige Bueckers (based upon her magnificent year thus far) deserves enshrinement among UConn’s holy holies"
We won't know until she has played her last UCONN game.

Most of Di’s heroics occurred in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.
At this time in women's basketball the opposition was weak. Strother and Turner were very good players.
 

Bama fan

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After DT, Maya & Stewie, that 4th player on UConn’s Mt Rushmore was always the subject of energetic debate here on the BY. Once Paige graduates, I don’t think there will be much debate.

“What about Azzi you say?” 🤔
To paraphrase a wise old New England official. we're gonna need a bigger Mount.
 
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"whether Paige Bueckers (based upon her magnificent year thus far) deserves enshrinement among UConn’s holy holies"
We won't know until she has played her last UCONN game.

Most of Di’s heroics occurred in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.
At this time in women's basketball the opposition was weak. Strother and Turner were very good players.
The competition in women's basketball this year is weak. Taurasi's team would steam roll any team this year.
 

EricLA

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Bigger mountain indeed! I know many feel Lobo should be the 4th currently, but Bird had better overall success. 2 NC's, 3 Leiberman awards, and probably would have been NPOY if not for Diana. Rebecca had 1 NPOY and 1 NC. If you want to given a award for "most important recruits", Lobo would be up at the top since she opened the door for others to flock to the little agricultural college in NE Connecticut.

Regardless, I think when Azzi and Paige are done, the top 5 will be (in no particular order), Dee, Maya, Stewie, Paige, Azzi.

Then we can continue the debate on #6 and lower! ;)
 
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Debate has already begun as to whether Paige Bueckers (based upon her magnificent year thus far) deserves enshrinement among UConn’s holy holies - Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, and Breanna Stewart. Based upon a freshman season of less than twenty games, she ranks with the best in the storied history of the Huskies. Her stats and heroics against Tennessee and South Carolina make this clear.

A deeper dive into frosh play reveals some differences that helps shed light on the extraordinary play of Bueckers thus far. We can do so by looking at the players around each super star. Lest we forget the player who held the first year scoring record until Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart came along was Svetlana Abrosimova. The seventeen year old phenom came from Russia to Storrs for the 1997-98 basketball season, one that seemed to offer a lot of promise, but Nykesha Sales suffered a season ending injury in the next to the last game against Notre Dame and the team lost in the regional final. Shea Ralph missed the entire season, but it was a pretty good team featuring seniors Sales and Rita Williams, junior Amy Duran, sophs Stacy Hansmeyer and Paige Sauer, and Abrosimova.

Diana Taurasi came to UConn in 2000 and that team was the most talented in Husky history - Abrosimova, Shea Ralph, Kelly Schumacher, Sue Bird, Ashja Jones, Swin Cash, and Tamika Williams. She came off the bench for much of the season. Most of Di’s heroics occurred in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. No superstars were on these teams, but Maria Conlon, Jessica Moore, Ashley Battle, Wilnett Crockett, Ann Strother, and Barbara Turner were not exactly chopped liver. Moore, Turner, and Strother were all quality players.

Maya Moore’s freshman season featured seniors Charde Houston, Brittany Hunter, and Mel Thomas, junior Renee Montgomery, and sophomores Tina Charles and Kalana Greene, and fellow frosh Lorin Dixon. Moore, if my memory is correct, moved into the starting lineup after the injuries to Thomas and Greene. As with Abrosimova, you knew Moore was special the first time she stepped onto the floor.

Breanna Stewart’s first team was also a deep one with Caroline Doty, Kelly Faris, Stephanie Dolson, Bria Hartley, Kaleena Mosquera-Lewis, Kiah Stokes, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck. Stewart had a solid freshman year and began to ascend into the ranks of the immortal with her play in the NCAA tournament.

As regards to Paige Bueckers, the supporting cast of upperclassmen is not as high as with the previous teams mentioned. Had Megan Walker returned for her senior year, the dynamics of the entire season would have been different. Walker would have been the returning star, senior leader, and first offensive option, thus Paige may have come off the bench until the Makurat injury. Since this year’s roster is not as strong as many previous ones, Bueckers has taken over. She has been the best player on the floor since her first game in a Husky uniform and this is not likely to change. What is also unprecedented is that she is also the team leader and a vocal one at that. All in all, her play thus far has set a new standard, as in her first 15 games she has led the squad in scoring in 9 and tied in 1.
Bueckers wasn’t coming off the bench this year no matter who was on the roster. And IMO, Auriemma knew that as soon as he saw her work with the team this summer. And so did the rest of the team.
 

Carnac

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Bigger mountain indeed! I know many feel Lobo should be the 4th currently, but Bird had better overall success. 2 NC's, 3 Leiberman awards, and probably would have been NPOY if not for Diana. Rebecca had 1 NPOY and 1 NC. If you want to given a award for "most important recruits", Lobo would be up at the top since she opened the door for others to flock to the little agricultural college in NE Connecticut.

Regardless, I think when Azzi and Paige are done, the top 5 will be (in no particular order), Dee, Maya, Stewie, Paige, Azzi.

Then we can continue the debate on #6 and lower! ;)
Since it's UConn's version of Mount Rushmore, I propose a 5 player mount. Even then, it's almost impossible to enshrine what is purported to be the 5 best players of "all-time" on it. Only five? Right now, we could establish a pool of 12 former players that are ALL worthy of enshrinement. Even with 5 busts on the mount, you're going to leave off some very worthy and all time favorites/greats in UConn lore.

The boneyard consensus WILL NEVER agree on the same five players, NEVER!!! Just like there are some folks here that believe that Diana Taurasi is the greatest player in program history, and can NEVER be supplanted by anyone that come along later. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg with respect to what "Miss Magic" can/will do over the next 3 years.

She's "wowing" folks now. How good can/will she get before she plays her last game for Geno? The older and more experienced she gets, the more cunning and guile she's going to display. The day will come very soon when she simply takes over the game late in the 4th quarter (like she did versus South Carolina = scored UConn's last 13 points) without being told to, and leads the team to victory, and refusing to lose.
 
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EricLA

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Since it's UConn's version of Mount Rushmore, I propose a 5 player mount. Even then, it's almost impossible to enshrine what is purported to be the 5 best players of "all-time" on it. Only five? Right now, we could establish a pool of 12 former players that are ALL worthy of enshrinement. Even with 5 busts on the mount, you're going to leave off some very worthy and all time favorites/greats in UConn lore.

The boneyard consensus WILL NEVER agree on the same five players, NEVER!!! Just like there are some folks here that believe that Diana Taurasi is the greatest player in program history, and can NEVER be supplanted by anyone that come along later. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg with respect to what "Miss Magic" can/will do over the next 3 years.

She's "wowing" folks now. How good can/will she get before she plays her last game for Geno? The older and more experienced she gets, the more cunning and guile she's going to display. The day will come very soon when she simply takes over the game late in the 4th quarter (like she did versus South Carolina = scored UConn's last 13 points) without being told to, and leads the team to victory, and refusing to lose.
She's ONLY a freshman. That's what blows my mind. There are other players that have been prolific scorers in WCBB, but I would wager that NONE have the incredible shooting % that Paige does. Not only does she never seem to take a bad shot, but I find myself surprised when she actually misses!

To think that many believe Azzi is an even better shooter - Oye!!
 

Carnac

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She's ONLY a freshman. That's what blows my mind. There are other players that have been prolific scorers in WCBB, but I would wager that NONE have the incredible shooting % that Paige does. Not only does she never seem to take a bad shot, but I find myself surprised when she actually misses!

To think that many believe Azzi is an even better shooter - Oye!!
Because of this dynamic that will manifest itself next year, and for the next 3 years, I wonder if the sports networks will scramble to vie for the rights to televise more UConn wbb games. The ratings for those game will be high regardless of the opponent. UConn games will be "must see." Azzi & Paige will be UConn's version of "Punch & Judy." :)

Their act will definitely be worth the price of admission. If Azzi and the rest of her freshmen classmates can live up the the hype they have, UConn is going to be scary good their sophomore year and beyond. Of course other programs will improve as well, but I can see 2-3 national championships from the "Paige/Azzi era" through Azzi's senior year. Like you, I'm almost 3,000 miles away from Storrs. I would relish the opportunity to attend a game IN PERSON the next 3 years.

I've attended the last 4 games they've played here in the Golden State. That's why I'd like to see a resumption of an ongoing home-and-home series with Stanford and maybe UCLA. UConn always plays two games when they make a trip out to the west coast. They could easily do that with these two top 25 programs. Both games would sell out, and be on national TV. As you know, there are a lot of UConn fans out here in the western region of the country, especially here in California.
 
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No disrespect to Paige who is the best frosh I have ever seen and I support as Player of the year, but wake me up when this team wins National Championship. That is the only time to start this debate.
Have to win at least two to be in the discussion. If both Paige and Azzi make their case, then Maya will be the first one out.
 
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Since it's UConn's version of Mount Rushmore, I propose a 5 player mount. Even then, it's almost impossible to enshrine what is purported to be the 5 best players of "all-time" on it. Only five? Right now, we could establish a pool of 12 former players that are ALL worthy of enshrinement. Even with 5 busts on the mount, you're going to leave off some very worthy and all time favorites/greats in UConn lore.

The boneyard consensus WILL NEVER agree on the same five players, NEVER!!! Just like there are some folks here that believe that Diana Taurasi is the greatest player in program history, and can NEVER be supplanted by anyone that come along later. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg with respect to what "Miss Magic" can/will do over the next 3 years.

She's "wowing" folks now. How good can/will she get before she plays her last game for Geno? The older and more experienced she gets, the more cunning and guile she's going to display. The day will come very soon when she simply takes over the game late in the 4th quarter (like she did versus South Carolina = scored UConn's last 13 points) without being told to, and leads the team to victory, and refusing to lose.
Yea there will never be agreement, but I don’t understand why Pheesa doesn’t get more consideration as one of the handful of best of the best. Her Freshman year the team was stacked, yet she contributed. Ridiculous as a sophomore. Played as an undersized post most of the time. Her rebounding and point totals are near the top. Could it be not winning the NC her last 3 years? Can you imagine Collier with her mid range touch on this team?
 

Carnac

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No disrespect to Paige who is the best frosh I have ever seen and I support as Player of the year, but wake me up when this team wins National Championship. That is the only time to start this debate.
No argument there!!
 

Carnac

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Yea there will never be agreement, but I don’t understand why Pheesa doesn’t get more consideration as one of the handful of best of the best. Her Freshman year the team was stacked, yet she contributed. Ridiculous as a sophomore. Played as an undersized post most of the time. Her rebounding and point totals are near the top. Could it be not winning the NC her last 3 years? Can you imagine Collier with her mid range touch on this team?
Collier was indeed a great player for UConn. She finished as the number 3 ALL TIME leading scorer in program history (behind Breanna Stewart and Maya Moore). The only "wart" I can think of on her resume is the FF game against Mississippi State that she came up short in. Geno had to bench her during portions of that game. She couldn't hit anything. She even missed bunnies that had become a staple in her overall game.

She proved how good she was/is when she was voted the WNBA rookie of the year. I doubt players up for consideration can have any warts on their resume'. They must have won at least one championship (preferably more) during their career. Being on a championship team is not enough. They MUST have played an integral part (ring leader) of that team's overall success.
 

MSGRET

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Because of this dynamic that will manifest itself next year, and for the next 3 years, I wonder if the sports networks will scramble to vie for the rights to televise more UConn wbb games. The ratings for those game will be high regardless of the opponent. UConn games will be "must see." Azzi & Paige will be UConn's version of "Punch & Judy." :)

Their act will definitely be worth the price of admission. If Azzi and the rest of her freshmen classmates can live up the the hype they have, UConn is going to be scary good their sophomore year and beyond. Of course other programs will improve as well, but I can see 2-3 national championships from the "Paige/Azzi era" through Azzi's senior year. Like you, I'm almost 3,000 miles away from Storrs. I would relish the opportunity to attend a game IN PERSON the next 3 years.

I've attended the last 4 games they've played here in the Golden State. That's why I'd like to see a resumption of an ongoing home-and-home series with Stanford and maybe UCLA. UConn always plays two games when they make a trip out to the west coast. They could easily do that with these two top 25 programs. Both games would sell out, and be on national TV. As you know, there are a lot of UConn fans out here in the western region of the country, especially here in California.
I would love to see them in a special Conference of Champions tournament, maybe here in Vegas. You have the previous years Conference champions from the Big East, ACC, PAC 12, SEC, Big 12, and B1G play in two groups of 3 who play each other. Then have the winner of each group play for the trophy. Have all games on National TV and hold it in Allegiant Stadium. They would most likely have the highest attendance record of any Women's basketball game.
 
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In a similar vein, I had the discussion after the SC game about what would be your all time UConn five if you had to win a game, not necessarily just the best five. The thought is that Paige might already be on there - we may need a little more evidence in March, but she‘s certainly proven you want the ball in her hands, and would be deadly spotting up if the ball was in someone else’s. But we didn’t come to a consensus after the big three of Maya, DT and Stewie. Leaving Paige off for now, my additions to the five were MoJeff and Gabby Williams - I want Jefferson’s defense out there and her offensive numbers as a PG are right there with Bird‘s, who was obviously in the discussion too, and Gabby could defend multiple positions, guard centers so Stewart wouldn’t have to tire herself out in the post or high-scoring wings so Maya or DT didn’t have to chase scorers around, and be the glue who does a little of everything. A lot of options came up though, obviously. Sort of a fun discussion. Although you could probably just take the 2002, 2009 or 2016 starting five and be done with it.

Hey with that math, we can really look forward to Paige‘s junior year in 2023 (the Lobo team was 1995 too, going back seven in the other direction).
 
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Yea there will never be agreement, but I don’t understand why Pheesa doesn’t get more consideration as one of the handful of best of the best. Her Freshman year the team was stacked, yet she contributed. Ridiculous as a sophomore. Played as an undersized post most of the time. Her rebounding and point totals are near the top. Could it be not winning the NC her last 3 years? Can you imagine Collier with her mid range touch on this team?


I love Pheesa, she is my favorite all time player. She did so many things well and as you said while being undersized. I think she is generally underrated by many fans with just how good (and consistent) she really was. I don't think she is one of the Mount Rushmore players though, but definitely at the top of the list just outside that.
 
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After DT, Maya & Stewie, that 4th player on UConn’s Mt Rushmore was always the subject of energetic debate here on the BY. Once Paige graduates, I don’t think there will be much debate.

“What about Azzi you say?” 🤔
Counting chickens before they hatch, until Azzi shows up and plays what's the point of even bringing her up? This time next year will come soon enough, then hopefully we can let the debate rage.
 
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Lobo or Bird should be the 4th head on our Mount. As for Paige, its early, but I'd start getting the hammer & pick sharpened and ready....
 
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No disrespect to Paige who is the best frosh I have ever seen and I support as Player of the year, but wake me up when this team wins National Championship. That is the only time to start this debate.
HopJim, can't win a championship until you play in the tournament.
 

oldude

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Counting chickens before they hatch, until Azzi shows up and plays what's the point of even bringing her up? This time next year will come soon enough, then hopefully we can let the debate rage.
Since this is all about speculation, why not speculate about Azzi? As a matter of fact, there’s probably a 6 yr old somewhere with some serious skills that we should be talking about as well. 😏
 

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