HARTFORD, Conn. -- UConn’s women’s basketball team brought home an eighth national championship during a year that saw the school’s men’s team barred from the NCAA tournament and its football team change coaches.
Yale also secured a national title in 2013, winning the NCAA hockey championship over neighboring Quinnipiac.
Sports and crime converged in 2013 around Bristol after native son Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder and the home of family members became the focus of that investigation.
It was also a year that brought dozens of athletes to Connecticut to visit Newtown in an attempt to help that community heal from another crime -- the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Other top sports stories from the year included the state purchasing the New Haven Open Tennis tournament to keep it from moving, and Ken Duke getting his first PGA Tour win at the Travelers Championship.
A look at the top 10 sports stories in Connecticut in 2013:
-- HUSKIES WIN ANOTHER: It wasn’t exactly a drought, but the UConn women’s basketball program hadn’t won a national championship since 2010. Their 93-60 rout of Louisville in April was the most lopsided victory in a title game in NCAA tournament history. It also was the eighth NCAA title for the program, giving Geno Auriemma as many trophies as former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.
-- CENTER OF COLLEGE HOCKEY: Yale and Quinnipiac Universities are less than 10 miles apart, but the rival schools met in Pittsburgh to settle the question of hockey supremacy. Yale beat its rivals 4-0 in April’s national championship game, giving the nation’s oldest college hockey program its first NCAA title. It was sweet revenge for Yale, which had lost the three previous meetings during the season to the top-seeded Bobcats by a combined 13-3.
-- HEALING NEWTOWN: Celebrities from across the world of sports visited Newtown in 2013, hoping to help the children there heal in the wake of the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. There were soccer clinics, autograph sessions and invitations to games across the country. A 26-member children’s choir from the school that included the older brother of one shooting victim joined Jennifer Hudson to deliver a stirring rendition of "America the Beautiful" at the Super Bowl.
-- AARON HERNANDEZ: Massachusetts investigators spent a lot of 2013 in Bristol, the hometown of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez. He was charged in June with murder in the North Attleborough, Mass., shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semipro football player who was dating his girlfriend’s sister. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. Four others, including two Bristol men, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, and Hernandez cousin Tanya Singleton, of Bristol, have been charged in connection with the case.
-- UCONN FOOTBALL: UConn fired coach Paul Pasqualoni after an 0-4 start to the 2013 season. The Huskies went on to lose their next five games before turning things around under interim coach T.J. Weist and finishing the season on a three-game winning streak. Less than a week later, Athletic Director Warde Manuel introduced Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco as UConn’s new head coach.
-- UCONN MENS BASKTBALL: UConn’s men’s basketball team went 20-10 during the 2012-13 season, Kevin Ollie’s first as the Huskies head coach. But the team failed to qualify for the Big East or the NCAA tournament because of poor academic progress rates that predated anyone on the roster.
-- NEW HAVEN OPEN: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced in October the state would spend $618,000 to buy the rights to the New Haven Open tennis tournament and keep it from moving to North Carolina. The tournament has been operating without a title sponsor since 2010, when Pilot Pen ended its relationship and the tournament became a women’s event.
-- TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP: Ken Duke needed 187 starts on the PGA Tour to get his first win, securing it in June at a tournament that is building a reputation for such breakthroughs. The 44-year-old journeyman made a 2 1/2 foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to win the Travelers Championship. Duke, who came in ranked 144th in the world, is the sixth golfer in eight years to get his first PGA Tour win here, joining J.J. Henry (2006), Hunter Mahan (2007), Bubba Watson (2010), Fredrik Jacobsen (2011) and Marc Leishman last year.
-- THE AMERICAN CONFERENCE: The University of Connecticut never left the Big East, but the conference left UConn in 2013. The name went away with the conference’s seven Catholic schools, which formed a basketball-only Big East. UConn and the other Big East holdovers -- Temple, Cincinnati and South Florida -- were joined this season by Memphis, Central Florida, Houston and SMU to form the American Athletic Conference. Next season Tulane, Tulsa and East Carolina join. Navy is set to join in 2015 in football.
-- UCONN HOCKEY: UConn hired Boston College assistant coach Mike Cavanaugh, who helped guide the Eagles to four national championships, as its head men’s hockey coach. The 45-year-old replaced Bruce Marshall, who resigned in January after 25 years at Connecticut.