Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Waco crowd gives Geno a warm reception

Without warning the packed house at the Ferrell Center began to clap and the welcoming reception continued on.

The first thought is that the Baylor team was emerging from the locker room or perhaps recently-crowned Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III was spotted by the Baylor faithful. No, the applause was a result of UConn coach Geno Auriemma making his way across the court and to his team's bench.

Auriemma said he was surprised and appreciative of the way he was greeted by the Baylor fans.

"People said that people down South are a lot nicer and they proved it," Auriemma said. "It really took me by surprise, the reception I got in the gym. I don't know if they do it for everybody when they think they are going to kick their butt.

It was a great game for people to be a part of and watch. I know we had the same environment last year and I am just thrilled to be a part of it."

Auriemma wasn't the only person curious how the UConn coach was going to be received the first time he stepped onto the court in front of the largest women's basketball crowd in Baylor's history.
"He's a legend and they appreciate what they've done for women's basketball," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "I was kind of curious how they were going to react to Geno. I know they reacted to (Tennessee coach) Pat (Summitt) the way that they did and hopefully recognize that because that s nothing more than great appreciation for what they have done for the women's game."

On the bus ride to Sunday's game Auriemma heard the news that Jacki Gemelos, who initially committed to UConn before changing her mind and headed to Southern California, suffered yet another knee injury during a game against Texas A&M.

"I knew things were difficult for Shea (Ralph) and they've been difficult for Caroline (Doty) but wow to have that happen to a kid ... Just the fact that she has been able to come back as hard as she has, she is one tough cookie. She had a great summer playing with USA Basketball. I hope she is OK."




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