Editor's Note: The BIG EAST will be previewing both the men's and women's team from each BIG EAST member each weekday from October 22 to November 8 in advance of the 2012-13 season. Use hashtag #BECountdown to join the conversation on Twitter.
Connecticut Huskies Women's Basketball
The BIG Picture
The Huskies won the BIG EAST Championship title for the fifth-straight season. The team has 19 regular season titles and 18 tournament crowns. Connecticut finished 33-5 in 2011-12 to post its seventh-straight 30-win season. The Huskies eclipsed the 30-win plateau for the 17th time in the last 19 years. UConn reached the Final Four for the 13th time in program history, the second-most appearances in the sport.
The Huskies have four starters returning for the 2012-13 season. Connecticut’s sixth man, BIG EAST Freshman of the Year Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis led the team last year with 15.0 ppg, 93 3-pointers and a .833 free throw percentage. Junior guard Bria Hartley (Watch #BEMediaDay interview) averaged 14.0 ppg, third on the team, and was second on the team with 140 assists. Junior center Stefanie Dolson averaged 10.4 ppg, had a team-high 57 blocks and led the squad on the boards with 6.0 rpg. Senior Kelly Faris led the team with 165 assists and redshirt-senior Caroline Doty (5.0 ppg) rounds out the returning starters.
UConn lost one starter to graduation, Tiffany Hayes. Hayes won two national championships and competed in four Final Fours. She was honored as the 2012 Kingston Regional Most Outstanding Player and earned Third Team All-America status from the Associated Press. Hayes was selected with the fourteenth pick of the WNBA Draft by the Atlanta Dream. Hayes, a two-time All-BIG EAST First Team selection, finished her career at UConn with a 147-7 overall record and averaged 14.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
Head Coach Geno Auriemma won his 800th game on March 6, 2012 in the BIG EAST Championship final against Notre Dame (Watch #BEMediaDay Interview). He reached 800 wins in 928 games, the fewest games all-time. Connecticut’s recruiting class of Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck was the top-rated crop by most recruiting services. All three freshmen were selected to the USA Basketball U18 National Team, which won the gold medal at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in August. Stewart was honored as the National Player of the Year by Gatorade.