Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Geno dishes on Rizzotti and President Obama

Following the game there were a wide range of topics that UConn and U.S. national team coach Geno Auriemma addressed following a 99-67 exhibition victory over Brazil at the Verizon Center. Let's start with his reaction to former UConn guard Jen Rizzotti being named to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

"One of the things I have always thought about Jen is when she ws in high school, she played the game in a way that people went to high school girls basketball games and that doesn't happen a lot and in small places like New Fairfield, Connecticut. When she came to UConn she played the game in such a way that everybody wanted to watch her play. "She's a 5-5, 5-6 girl in a ponytail who inspired an entire state to become women's basketball fans. What tells you all you need to know about Jen is her senior year she averaged 11 points a game and she was the national player of the year. Even now as a coach she represents all the things that are great about women's basketball. She has inspired more young people to play women's basketball than anybody I've ever been around."

Following the game President Barack Obama meet the U.S. team and Auriemma talked about what he had to say.

 "The President is a huge basketball fan, everybody knows that," Auriemma said. "He wanted to congratulate the players and wish them luck. He probably spent a lot more time then they wanted oo down there just being a regular guy. "He wanted to know about the team, where we were going, what the seeds are and who we are playing. He has a pretty good grip on what is going on in the Olympics. Some of the players had already met him. He treated all of them exactly the same, we knew some of them by their first name, some he recognized. One of the great things abou meeting the President, whether you votes for him or didn't vote for him whether he is a Republican, a Democrat or something else, when you are in the presence of the President, you are in the presence of the President. We had dinner with a bunch of generals and you get to shake hands with two four-star generals. It's not the same as no disrespect but it is not the same as being in Manchester, Connecticut and saying hi to one of the cops at Dunkin' Donuts."

Staying on the subject of meeting the President, former UConn star Diana Taurasi said "With the President we talked a little healthcare, tax breaks."

Lindsay Whalen, playing the role of the straight man in the tag-team press conference with Taurasi, was thrilled to meet President Obama for the first time.

"It was the first time I have ever met him so it was pretty cool," Whalen said. "What he said is represent the country well and make us proud so I know we will take it to heart and go to London with that mindset."

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