STORRS, Conn. – The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team received National Letters of Intent from three student-athletes in the early signing period as announced by head coach Geno Auriemma on Wednesday. Molly Bent, Crystal Dangerfield and Kyla Irwin will all join the Huskies for the start of the 2016-17 season.
5-9 | Guard | Centerville, Mass.
UConn’s first signee from Massachusetts since Walpole native Nicole Wolff (2002-06) … A high honors student in all of her semesters at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts. Last year won the Physics and Creative Writing Award along with the Wickenden Award, which is the highest honor for a Tabor junior. Was also a straight-A student in her two years at Barnstable High School … Played three seasons, starting in eighth grade, at Barnstable High and was coached by her father, George. She had 1,001 points. As a sophomore in 2012-13 she averaged 28 points per game and was named to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and ESPN Boston all-scholastic teams … Transferred to Tabor Academy in 2013 and repeated her sophomore year. In both her seasons she’s been named to the New England Prep School Class A All-Star team and Tabor reached the New England Class A tournament final in 2014 and 2015 … Played AAU basketball for the Rhode Island Breakers … Also plays soccer at Tabor. Was the leading scorer as a sophomore and junior (senior season not yet complete) and led Tabor to the 2013 New England Prep School Class B championship.
Geno Auriemma on Bent
Molly is Molly. She is an old-fashioned kind of guard. She is a throwback to the days when kids just played hard and competed. She sees things and is unselfish and is just a basketball junkie. Molly loves the game as much as anyone I’ve seen in the last 30 years and I think the people here are going to really enjoy watching her play.
5-5 | Guard | Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Attends Blackman High in Murfreesboro where she is a member of the honor roll and Honors Program … In her three seasons has led Blackman to a 92-8 record and the 2014 and 2015 Tennessee state 3A championships, compiling 1,468 points, 351 rebounds, 358 assist and 286 steals … Averaged 15.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 2.5 steals as a junior as Blackman (32-2) successfully defended
its state, district, and regional titles … A Naismith High School All-America third-team pick as a junior … Named the Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year and the Tennessee state tournament MVP as a sophomore and junior, as well as the District 7-AAA Player of the Year in both seasons … Has played for USA Basketball’s 2013 U-16 and the 2015 U-19 national teams. Was a teammate of UConn freshmen Katie Lou Samuelson and De’Janae Boykin on the 2013 U-16 team that won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship in Cancun, Mexico, averaging 7.0 points, 1.8 assists, and 1.4 steals in five games. Was a teammate of UConn freshman Napheesa Collier on the 2015 U-19 team that won the gold medal at the FIBA U-19 world championships in Chekhov, Russia, averaging 6.4 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.0 steals in seven games … First recruit from Tennessee to sign with UConn in coach Geno Auriemma’s tenure.
Geno Auriemma on Dangerfield
Crystal is one of those unique little guards, like Moriah Jefferson, where she is strong enough and quick enough that she can get things done that a lot of players can’t. She can get to spots on the floor, on offense and on defense, which a lot of kids cant. She had a great summer with USA Basketball and really learned a lot. I think with Moriah graduating, Crystal is going to come in and have a chance to have an impact right away.
6-2 | Forward | State College, Penn.
Rated among the top 50 players in the Class of 2016 nationally by the Blue Star Report … Has made the honor roll in every quarter of her first three years at State College High … Enters her senior season third on State College’s all-time scoring list with 1,397 points … A three-year starter playing for her mother, Bethany — a former player at Penn State and native of Branford, Connecticut, averaged 20.0 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.3 steals, and 2.3 blocked shots as a junior. Named first-team All-State in 2015, the first State College player to earn the award since Katie Glusko in 2002 as her team advanced to the District 6 Class AAAA final … As a sophomore, averaged 19.6 points and 12.7 rebounds in leading State College to the District 6 AAAA title … Plays AAU ball for Central PA Alyssa Thomas Elite and helped her team last summer to the championship of the 17-and-under event at the United States Junior Nationals Hershey (Pennsylvania) National Showcase … Is also a four-year performer in volleyball at State College and was named All-State in 2014. Led her team to the district championship and state Sweet 16 in 2015 … UConn’s first signee from Pennsylvania since Doylestown’s Caroline Doty (2008-13).
Geno Auriemma on Irwin
Kyla is the kind of kid that we have taken great pride in getting over the last 30 years. She is a hard-working, high-energy kid and has skills that allow her to play more than one position. She knows how to play the game. She is exactly the kind of kid that we have looked for at UConn and the fact that she has some connections to Connecticut is an added bonus. We are really excited about having her and her family as part of our program.