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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

UConn's Class of 2016 recruiting class putting up the numbers

There was no lack of hoopla as Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck arrived on campus in the summer of 2012.

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma and his staff has put together some rather impressive recruiting classes over the years but getting the No. 1, 2 and 4 players according to ESPN ratings had some suggesting that this could be the best class ever signed. Three national championships, one undefeated seasons and being a part of two of the four longest winning streaks in NCAA Division I women's basketball history, that talented trio has certainly lived up to the advanced billing.

A 126-5 record is a testament to their impact but there is another way of attempting to tabulate their impact and that is by the number of points scored.

I did some number crunching and the 4,466 combined points ranks third at UConn since Auriemma's arrival in 1985. What is more impressive is that the only two classes ahead of them included five players.

Back in 2000, Diana Taurasi arrived after UConn won its second national title and was joined by Ashley Battle, Maria Conlon, Jessica Moore and Morgan Valley. With Battle and Moore taking advantage of a fifth year of eligibility, they joined Taurasi as 1,000-point scorers. By the time Battle and Moore moved on, the class accounted for 5,429 points. If you only count the four seasons and don't include the scoring totals of Battle and Moore during the 2004-05 season, the class still accounted for an impressive 4,895 points. Either way you do the math, that ranks second in UConn program history.

I think even the casual women's basketball fan could predict that the five-player class of Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, Keirsten Walters and Tamika Williams who played from 1998-2002 holds the program record with a staggering 5,967 points. The class included four 1,000-point scorer and if not for Walters' career being shortened by a series of knee injuries, perhaps it would have had five players with more than 1,000 points.

Perhaps if Tuck were to return for a fifth season of eligibility that her class could catch that group of players who helped the Huskies win national titles No. 2 and 3. In order to accomplish it this season, Jefferson, Stewart and Tuck would have to combine for more than 68 points per game. It would be a little more realistic to see if they can surpass the Taurasi-led class for the No. 2 spot and that would mean combining for just under 44 points per game the rest of the way.

What my research has shown is that Jefferson, Stewart and Tuck are just the fifth group of UConn recruits to combine for more than 4,000 points. It is also worth pondering what the final scoring total would have been of the Stefanie Dolson/Bria Hartley class if three of the five players who came into the program in 2010 hadn't transferred out. I also found it interesting that every recruiting class to combine for at least 4,000 points won a minimum of two national titles.

Here's the list:
Years  (Players)                                                                                                   Points  Record Titles
1998-02 (Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, Keirsten Walters, Tamika Williams)  5,967 136-9   2
2000-05 (Ashley Battle, Maria Conlon, Jessica Moore, Diana Taurasi, Morgan Valley) 5,429 131-8   3
2012-present (Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck)    4,466 126-5   32002-06 ((Wilnett Crockett, Ann Strother, Barbara Turner, Nicole Wolff)   4,197 125-18  2
2010-14 (Stefanie Dolson, Lauren Engeln, Bria Hartley, Michala Johnson, Samarie Walker) 4,051 144-11  2

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