Reunion time for UConn graduate assistant Jasmine Lister
The Huskies know better than to run before they walk so their focus was on the College of Charleston, who third-ranked UConn will play on Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Germain Arena.
However, for graduate assistant Jasmine Lister it isn't hard to hear the exuberance in her voice when she ponders the possibility of a second-round matchup with Vanderbilt.
Lister graduated last year after scoring 1,618 points and contributing 591 assists for Vanderbilt teams which played in the NCAA tournament in each of her four seasons including a game in Storrs against UConn in 2013.
"It would be very surreal," Lister said, "It would be weird because I will be on the other side and I won't be playing so it will be different."
Lister has gotten into the habit of checking the Vanderbilt box scores and she speaks occasionally with her former teammates and coaches.
"It will be nice to see how they are doing and see the new dynamic of the team," Lister said. "I definitely keep up and follow different things, keep up with them and talk to the . I get to hear who stands out and now see who stands out and how everybody is doing."
Lister has nothing but positive memories of her time. So what does she take from her time with the Commodores?
"How competitive every game was every time I played in that Vanderbilt jersey whether it is home or away everybody always came and gave their best, we had to stay on our toes and nobody was going to lay down for us," Lister said.
UConn has had graduate assistants in the past but normally it has been a former UConn player filling to role and seeing if they want to pursue a coaching career.
Lister has a former UConn star to thank for her opportunity.
"I played in the Seattle Storm training camp and I played with Sue Bird for a few days," Lister said. "After I got released CD (UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey) actually called her and said 'we have this GA open and do you have anybody in mind?' Sue said 'hey, there is this girl I played with in training camp and I don't know if she is planning to play overseas but here you go.' CD reached out to my coaches, they reached to me and said are you interested. It is crazy how perfect timing it was."
When she was cut by Seattle her agent worked on getting her a chance to play overseas but Lister put those plans on hold when the UConn opportunity presented itself.
"I didn't want to say no to this because I do want to get into coaching down the road maybe not this soon but this is a perfect opportunity where I can learn from the best coaching staff in the country and this is the best situation ever," said Lister, who works with UConn's guards and also helps organize UConn's male practice players and managers during practice.
"It is amazing," Lister said. "They are so (focused on) attention to detail, focused on every little thing and I try to pay attention that they pay attention to so I can see what they see and how they broke down a specific play."
Lister thought she wanted to get into coaching and now that she has been able to work alongside Hall of Famer Geno Auriemma and his staff, she definitely has been bitten by the coaching bug.
However, she has not turned her back on a professional playing career.
"If the opportunity presents itself I might (play overseas)," Lister said. "I want to play in the WNBA next year and that is a possibility as well I have to stay in shape and be ready for anything."