Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Looking at UConn's Class of 2002 from the other side

Later today I will be doing a story on the remarkable achievement Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Asjha Jones (all part of the same recruiting class at UConn) making the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

I did a bunch of interviews after last night's practice and those quotes will be prominently displayed in the story running in tomorrow's edition of the Register.

However, I want to take a different view of things. I spoke with fellow Olympian Tamika Catchings who can offer a unique perspective because she helped her Tennessee teams beat the Bird-Cash-Jones powered UConn teams twice. During the 1999-2000 season, UConn's only loss came to Catchings and Tennessee. The following year Catchings and the Lady Vols defeated the Huskies in the regular season again so who would be better to put the accomplishments of what figures to go down as the best recruiting class in women's basketball history than one of the few players to have gotten the better of them?

"I think when you look at the makeup of that team and you look at the makeup of our team, it is about
getting the best of your players," Catchings said. "You see the impact of that is you see people that now are on the Olympic team, just how they were able to fit in his system and be successful not only in college but even in the pros."

Catchings always has a nice chuckle when people ask her about co-existing with her fiercest college rivals.

"At some point in time you put that to the side and you grow up and move onto the next level," Catchings said. "People are like 'oh my God, Connecticut and Tennessee on the same team?' You know what, it is not only classified as being a Lady Vol or a Husky now we are USA and we are representing something even bigger."

Finally, I asked her about the impressive first half that Kara Lawson, her former college teammate, put together with the Connecticut Sun.

"I am excited for her," Catchings said. "In this offseason she worked really hard and did a lot of things differently than she has in the past. I know talking to her, she was talking about the things that she did and how excited  she was coming into the season. To hear the excitement and see her doing well has been great."

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Anonymous Joe Sweeney said...

Lawson should be on the USA team. I know she was eliminated from consideration a while back. But her Olympic experience and WNBA season sure look good on her resume.

10:56 AM 

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