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The UConn Fast Break - 11/25/2022
Basketball, football and turkey!
Welcome to this week’s Fast Break, and thank you for being a subscriber. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
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The Oregon Trail
UConn men’s and women’s basketball have traveled across the country for the Phil Knight Nike tournaments this weekend. The men have already begun their three-game swing, starting with a big win over Oregon, while the women start Friday evening against Duke.
Before last night, Dan Hurley’s team had not yet played an opponent in the top half of Division I. While they have waxed every opponent so far, and also won the first game of this tournament comfortably, the level of competition increases further as they get ready for No. 18 Alabama tonight.
Geno Auriemma’s squad has already taken down a pair of highly-ranked teams in No. 3 Texas and No. 10 NC State on their home floor. This time, Duke and either No. 9 Iowa or Oregon State await on a neutral floor. UConn will be favored in each contest, but playing away from a friendly crowd.
Strengths and weaknesses - A breakdown of the squad’s performance and leaders through five games.
Oregon ousted - The No. 20 Huskies dominated Oregon.
Delaware State domination - Unlike some other Big East teams, the Huskies were never challenged against this low-major opponent.
UNC Wilmington win - Andre Jackson and Jordan Hawkins returned to the lineup in an easy Friday night victory.
Wolfpack wounded - UConn laid the lumber in a 91-69 win.
Dorka Juhasz breaks thumb - The senior forward suffered an injury against Texas.
Muhl’s record-breaking outing ($) - The guard set a program record with 15 assists against the Longhorns.
Kaden Shahan commits - The ‘05 forward out of Washington is playing for Sioux City of the USHL.
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Just one of Nika Muhl’s 15 record-breaking assists. This one sprung Aaliyah Edwards to beat the buzzer in the second quarter and help extend UConn’s lead heading into the break.
On November 22, 2010, Kemba Walker scored 29 points in the second half to propel the Huskies over Wichita State in their opening game of the Maui Invitational. The legend of Kemba was just starting to be written, while future legend Shabazz Napier also dropped 10 in that contest.
It was a close game the entire way through. The Huskies took a one-point lead into the break despite a sloppy half after Roscoe Smith banked a three at the halftime buzzer. With the Shockers up by as much as nine in the second half before Walker took over. He hit a jumper with 41 seconds left to put the Huskies up for good, one game after dropping 42 against Vermont.
Here is The UConn Blog’s recap of that game and some video highlights below. Walker and the Huskies would go on to win the Maui Invitational, topping Michigan State and trouncing Kentucky as Kemba finished the tournament with 90 points.
UConn, Great Pic
The pregame festivities at a service academy are unlike any other. Luckily, Ian Bethune was on the scene at West Point to capture the magic.
This week, Husky fans should consider giving thanks for the tremendous run of success occurring across the UConn athletic department.
The football team has had an incredible turnaround under Jim Mora, who won six games while toppling Boston College and a ranked opponent. In all likelihood, the Huskies will return to a bowl this year for the first time since 2015.
Men’s and women’s hockey are both ranked, with the men at No. 6 and the women at No. 15. Each squad looks poised to have a shot at an NCAA Tournament bid, which would be a first for both programs. They get to open a new arena on campus in January.
Both hoops teams are ranked and off to fantastic starts. Geno has made 14 straight Final Fours and Hurley’s made two tournaments in a row, has this year’s team humming, and a monster recruiting class on the way next year.
Baseball and softball have also been highly successful in recent years. Since returning to the Big East, the baseball team has swept the conference regular season and tournament titles, reaching the Stanford Super Regional in the most recent of its five consecutive NCAA Tournament bids. The softball team has been 76-43 and reached the Big East Tournament final the past two seasons since Laura Valentino took over.
UConn has one of the most well-rounded athletic departments in the nation and lots of teams are thriving right now, which is something to be thankful for this holiday season.
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