Dec. 3 vs. Maryland at XL Center (Jimmy V Classic): This will be the first meeting between the teams. The Terrapins return four starters from last season’s team that reached the Elite Eight, including reigning ACC Player of the year Alyssa Thomas, junior Laurin Mincy and senior Tianna Hawkins.
Dec. 29 at Stanford: The Cardinal return four starters and will open the season with a 79-game winning streak at home. The Huskies hold the NCAA record with 99 straight wins at home. Also, UConn had its NCAA record 90-game winning streak snapped in its last visit to Maples Pavilion Dec. 30, 2010.
Jan. 5 vs. Notre Dame at Gampel Pavilion; March 4 at Notre Dame: The Irish have had tremendous success against the Huskies of late, winning three of the four meetings last season and four of the last five overall. Notre Dame ended UConn’s season in the NCAA national semifinals in 2011 and 2012.
Jan. 21 vs. Duke at Gampel Pavilion: Led by sophomores Elizabeth Williams and Chelsea Gray, the Blue Devils return four starters from a team that advanced to the Elite Eight last season. UConn has won five straight games in the series by an average of 31.2 points.
Feb. 18 vs. Baylor at XL Center: This will be, as Geno Auriemma likes to put it, “The Next Game of the Century.’’ Led by All-Americans Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims, the Lady Bears return all five starters from last season’s 40-0 team. Their winning streak could be at 65 games when the teams meet at the XL Center.
Griner/Sims (Baylor): Griner, a 6-foot-8 senior and the reigning national Player of the Year, is unquestionably the nation’s most dominant player. She likely would have been a member of the Olympic team had she not removed herself from consideration. She averaged 23.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and ranked first nationally in blocks (5.2) last season. Sims, an electric junior point guard, averaged 14.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.0 steals and was named a WBCA All-American and a second-team All-American by The Associated Press last season.
Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame): Diggins, a senior, averaged 16.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.6 steals and earned WBCA All-American and Associated Press first-team All-American honors last season. Over the last five games against UConn, she is averaging 21.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.8 steals.
Alyssa Thomas (Maryland): She averaged 17.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists and was named a WBCA All-American and a first-team All-American by The Associated Press last season. As a sophomore, she was also only the second underclassman named ACC Player of the Year.
Ogwumike (Stanford): With the departure of All-American Nnemkadi Ogwumike, junior Chiney Ogwumike now inherits the leadership role for the Cardinal. She averaged 15.0 points and 10.1 rebounds and was named a WBCA All-American and a second-team All-American by The Associated Press last season.
Maggie Lucas (Penn State): Lucas, who will face the Huskies Dec. 6 at Gampel Pavilion, emerged as one of the nation’s top guards last season as a sophomore, earning honorable mention All-American honors from The Associated Press. She also averaged 19.5 points on 41.0 percent shooting from 3-point range in leading the Lady Lions to the Sweet 16.
Impressive slate: The Huskies will play 15 of their 30 regular-season games against teams that qualified for the NCAA tournament a year ago. Five of their 14 non-conference opponents won or shared their conference regular-season championship last season, and five finished in the Top-10 in RPI.
High-profile: The Huskies will play nine games on national television – seven on ESPN2 or ESPNU, one on CBS and one on CBSSN.
Home cooking: Of their 15 home games, the Huskies will play eight at the XL Center (featuring Baylor, Louisville and Maryland) and seven at Gampel Pavilion (featuring Duke, Notre Dame and Penn State).
To check out my complete breakdown, click on this link …