Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Geno happy about series with Penn State

When UConn and Penn State met in the 2008 Maggie Dixon Classic one couldn't help but wonder if the two Eastern schools both with strong women's basketball tradition, it seemed to be only natural that the teams would investigate the possibility of playing more games in the regular season.

Well that time has come as the schools agreed to start a home and home series beginning with a game in Connecticut in December.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma said earlier in the season that starting a series with a Big 10 program was something he'd like to see happen.

"We played Purdue there for a little bit, we had Michigan State or a little bit. I thought the Ohio State thing, something would come out of that with the Maggie Dixon Classic," Auriemma said. "Basically it is just trying to get a well-balanced schedule from around the country so we are not top heavy with one conference. There just seemed to be too many ACC schools there for a while and three Big 12 schools. I think the more we can spread it around (the better). They are a Northeast school, they are a Northeast school, they recruit similarly and when Neal (Eskin, UConn's associate athletic director) and I discussed it, I thought it was a natural.

"We had all those commitments and there was no way to fit them in (the last couple of years). Now is the right time, from the time we talked to them to the time it happened, it took no time at all."

It doesn't hurt that Auriemma holds Penn State coach Coquese Washington in high esteem.

"I thought when she got the job, I thought it was a great hire by Penn State," Auriemma said. "They have done a phenomenal job since she has been there. I have been on a bunch of committees with her. She is one of the most impressive young people I have come across in a long, long time. She has a whole lot of things in place, Notre Dame as an assistant there, a law school grad, trying to run a family. Doing it at a place like Penn State where they are in the Big Ten and it is not just any school, I am really impressed with the job that she has done."

Auriemma chose his words carefully when asked about the possibility of meeting up with former UConn forward Samarie Walker if UConn and Kentucky both win on Sunday.

Walker was granted her release in January of 2011 after a meeting with Auriemma and landed at Kentucky.

Here was what Auriemma had to say about Walker and her depature.

"Samarie Walker didn't want to be at Connecticut. Her parents are the nicest people in the world and I think they wanted Samarie to be at Connecticut more than Samarie wanted to be at Connecticut. Once that became evident, we didn't want Samarie to be at Connecticut so Samarie is at the place she wants to be at and seems to be enjoying herself, playing well. I think it benefited her and I think it benefited our team so everybody lives happily ever after."



Blogger VoxPox said...

Looking forward to a great UConn vs Penn State series!

11:32 AM 

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