Geno Auriemma is obviously a capable coach. But he's also an adept recruiter. You don't build a program from nothing solely because you can run the pick-and-roll or execute the half-court trap better than anyone else in the country. You have to have players, too.
The latest example of the Huskies' prowess in this area: the freshmen class. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was the national high school player of the year in 2010-11 and now she's UConn's leading scorer. Kiah Stokes and Brianna Banks, the other two members of the freshmen class, are holding their own, too. Stokes is averaging 3.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 13.4 minutes a game; Banks comes in at 4.8 points and 1.6 assists in 14.8 minutes.
It's an annual process, especially for the country's best teams (this happens in men's basketball, too, but more so on the women's side), and 2012-13 will be no different for the Huskies. Auriemma has said previously that center Breanna Stewart from North Syracuse, NY, could be the best player to ever come through Storrs. She'll be joined next season by Moriah Jefferson, a 5-7 guard from Texas, and Morgan Tuck, a 6-2 forward from Illinois.
In news that should shock no one: all three players are on Naismith Watch List for girls high school player-of-the-year honors.
The Hartford Courant's John Altavilla writes that there are only seven players on the list, including Diamond DeShields, a 2013 Huskies recruit. DeSheilds, the daughter of former Major League Baseball player Delino DeSheilds.
We talked about the 2012 incoming class back in May, noting that in addition to Stewart, the No. 1 player in the class, Jefferson was No. 2 and Tuck No. 12. And Jefferson chose UConn over in-state powerhouses Baylor and Texas A&M.
This is how you maintain a program's excellence from one year to the next: out-recruit the competition in their backyard.