Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Special day for a special team

UConn coach Geno Auriemma has made this trip before but everytime he brings the Huskies to the White House for a ceremony honoring yet another national title, it makes to a day to end all days.

Monday was no different. From an emotional trip to visit injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the chance for the team members to chat with President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle and finally the ceremony honoring UConn's achievements, it was a perfect capper to a perfect season.

"Each one is different," Auriemma said. "I have never come down and felt that each time was the same. I think the President and First Lady were incredible with the time that they spent with us before we went out to do the ceremony. It was so real and so genuine. Mrs. Obama spent some time with the players and she probably sees them as her daughters grown up. It was really good. It wasn't just another group of players coming to meet the President. I think this was pretty special."

President Obama reveled in letting the crowd of about 200 members in attendance at the East Room of the White House that UConn has not lost since he took office.

"I think he thinks he is the reason we won because ever since he came into office, we haven't lost," UConn's Kalana Greene said. "He thinks he is a good luck charm."

Rain forced the event to be moved inside to the East Room from the Rose Garden and also prevented UConn players from getting a rematch with the President. Last year Obama won a game of "P-I-G."

President Obama said during his speech that he considered UConn to not only be the best women's basketball teams in the country but one of the top sports teams period. He cited the program's 100 percent graduation rate as well as the off the court events they take part in. Obama admitted that he and his wife often saw highlights of UConn's games on ESPN SportsCenter when they worked out in the morning. It was clear by the way he spoke about the Huskies that he wasn't merely putting on an act of being familiar with team's road to championship glory. He also delighted the UConn players by busting on their Hall of Fame coach.

"When this team came to the White House (in 2009)," Obama said, "I was just pointing out to Maya, we went out back. We shot a little bit, I am not going to say you won but I noticed that there were people who were saying that these Huskies, they have a little too much swagger because they said that they'd be back in 2010. I am not sure if anybody believed them but I believed them listening to them and that confidence was well deserved. This team had an unbelievable run. Last year Coach Geno promised you guys would go 40-0 this year. It's not your fault that he can't do math very well. Coach 'you can't 40 games when you only have 39 games but 39-0 is pretty good."

Auriemma and his players were emotional when they spoke about meeting the injured soldiers and I will write about that in a blog either later tonight or tomorrow.

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