UConn women's basketball using last season as motivation - WFSB 3 Connecticut

UConn women's basketball using last season as motivation

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Another University of Connecticut women's basketball season is around the corner.

Under coach Geno Auriemma's leadership for the 33rd year, the team is yet again looking to make a name for itself.

This time, it wants to add another championship.

UConn lost its 111-game winning streak to Mississippi State in an overtime Final Four buzzer beater last season.

It was a difficult end to what some thought was the team's best season.

However, its returning players said they're coming back stronger this year.

"You know it was a horrible feeling just because we got into the far end, we had done so well earlier in the season, you know defied expectations," said Napheesa Collier, an all-american junior. "So to have it end that way, it was really bad for us, but I think we're using it this year to make us stronger instead of dwelling on it."

Collier, who has been picked as a pre-season player of the year, started in all 37 games for the Huskies last season. She led the team with 20 points and nine rebounds per game.

She said staying focused on the game last season led to better plays on the court and proving people wrong.

"People were against us, and then when we started winning, people thought we were better so we can't really let the outside people influence how we are," Collier said. "We stayed strong as a unit the whole year and I think that's what made us so successful. We weren't concerned with the outside chatter, we were concerned with ourselves and getting better each day."

Auriemma said he's ready for his 33rd season and to work with a roster of new and returning players.

"This year, it's a completely different look about us and practice even," he said. "We've only practiced four days, but you can sense that it's different already. We have two seniors and two juniors in the starting line up. They've won a lot of games, they've accomplished a lot already."

Senior forward Gabby Williams said she sees the potential too.

"We came in with almost nothing last year, we got pretty far, and now we're coming in with the same people but add some maturity to that and I think we have a pretty good team," Williams said.

There's only one way to improve on last season. That's to get to the NCAA championship game and win it.

"We've got some business to attend to this year," Auriemma said. "This could be one of the better teams we've had if things fall into place the way I think they can, yeah this could be one hell of a team."

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