Who will replace Aaliyah Edwards at UConn? Ranking 5 potential candidates for Geno Auriemma

Who will replace Aaliyah Edwards at UConn?

Who will replace Aaliyah Edwards at UConn?

UConn coach Geno Auriemma will have work to do during the offseason as he tries to find a replacement for forward Aaliyah Edwards, who will play for the Washington Mystics in the WNBA.

The 6-foot-3 Canadian was a workhorse during her four-year stint with the Huskies, contributing on both ends of the court. Last season, she averaged 17.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game to help UConn make the Final Four, where they lost 71-69 to the Caitlin Clark-led Iowa Hawkeyes.

This past season, Edwards formed a 1-2 punch with Huskies star Paige Bueckers and thrived on the frontcourt, making shots from the paint with ease. As a testament to her well-developed inside game, she shot 58.3% from the field and grabbed 6.8 defensive rebounds per contest.

However, Auriemma can explore the transfer portal to find the right replacement for Edwards, and with that in mind, here are five available players in the portal who can help fill the void left by Edwards ahead of the 2024-25 season.

5 potential players who could replace Aaliyah Edwards at UConn

#5. Christina Dalce, Villanova

Dalce had two solid seasons with Villanova as she provided the muscle for the Wildcats in terms of rebounding. The six-foot-two New Jersey native grabbed a career-high 9.4 rebounds this past season which included 4.7 offensive rebounds per outing.

She also thrived in swatting away her rivals’ shot attempts, averaging 2.3 blocks over the last two seasons. Dalce also scored 8.3 points on 44.1% shooting from the field. Auriemma would primarily need her blocking and rebounding to initiate stops at the defensive end and possibly contribute as many points as she can when Bueckers is heavily guarded.

#4. Janiah Barker, Texas A&M

The 6-foot-4 Barker had a standout second season for Texas A&M, tallying 12.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, and 1.3 spg in just 26.5 minutes of action per contest. She is a steady presence in the paint, making 47.9% of her field goal attempts. She can also shoot from the outside, as evidenced by her 34.3% shooting from the 3-point line.

Barker is a perfect fit for UConn’s system as she is a solid inside operator. However, she is also capable of knocking down perimeter jumpers that can force defenders to keep an eye on her at all times.

#3. Jordan Obi, Pennsylvania

Obi had a solid three seasons with Pennsylvania, averaging 13.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.9 apg, and 1.0 bpg in 82 games. The 6-foot-1 forward may be undersized at her position but she still stood out to become one of the Quakers’ top producers this past season.

Obi started in all 28 games for Pennsylvania and was fielded in for 34.1 minutes each game. She tallied career-high averages of 14.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.3 apg and 1.4 bpg. Auriemma might opt for an undersized but crafty forward in his roster as he has a solid core playing next season.

#2. Grace VanSlooten, Oregon

VanSlooten excelled in her first two seasons with Oregon, as the 6-foot-3 forward was one of the key players there. In the recently-concluded season, she played for 35.1 minutes and contributed 15.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.6 apg and 1.1 spg.

Though her shooting percentage dipped to 39.6% in the 2023-24 season, Van Slooten remained a steady producer in offense. UConn can utilize her when its top option is heavily guarded. VanSlooten can also attract contacts inside the paint, as she had 5.4 free throw attempts this past season.

#1. Liza Karlen, Marquette

One of the things that UConn can do to replace Edwards is to get a solid forward from one of their conference rivals. Marquette’s Liza Karlen announced that she is entering the transfer portal after four seasons with the Golden Eagles.

The 6-foot-2 senior is no pushover as she was Marquette’s top scorer, rebounder and blocker this past season. She tallied 17.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.2 bpg and 0.8 spg this past season and made 49.7% of her field goal attempts, including 35.7% from the 3-point line. She is also a solid free-throw shooter with an 82.2% clip.

If Auriemma secures Karlen’s commitment, she would form a 1-2 punch with Bueckers on the offensive end. Despite her short stature, she is also expected to crash the boards like Edwards. UConn will be a solid contender once more in the 2024-25 women’s basketball season with Karlen on the team.

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