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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

No predictions for national title No. 9 from Geno

Geno Auriemma certainly knows how to play to the crowd and those who gathered following Sunday's parade honoring the national-championship UConn squad would have roared their approval had Auriemma proclaimed that the Huskies would be back for another parade in 2014.

However, he opted not to burden his talent-laden 2013-14 squad with that albatross.

“Everybody knows that is the goal so why do we need to talk about it?” Auriemma said. “Every single person that was out there (on the stage) knows we have the ability to win a national championship. It is understood so let's not throw it out there all the time.”

Auriemma’s Huskies will return not only Final Four Most Outstanding Player Breanna Stewart but a trio of All-Americans in Bria Hartley (who earned that honor a season ago), Stefanie Dolson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

“We want to do this again,” said UConn freshman forward Morgan Tuck said. “We want to have the same feeling. We want to experience what we are experiencing now.”

Organizers estimated than 10,000 turned out on a blustery day in Hartford to watch the team make the rounds in a double decker bus similar to the one used during the team’s “Victory Lap” around campus on Wednesday.

With eight of the 11 players having never been a part of a national-championship team or its emotional aftermath, there was a sense of exuberance among the Huskies as they were able to celebrate winning the program’s eighth national title.

“It just kind of validates how hard we worked all season and proved why we do this,’ Dolson said. “It is such an exciting thing to see so many of them out there. It's just overwhelming. I never would have expected all of this stuff after winning a national championship. I expected maybe a trophy, a ceremony like this but nothing like when we came back people on the side of the highway gong to campus and then coming here and doing this whole parade.”

Auriemma said that Stewart and Tuck have expressed interest in playing for the U.S. team playing in the FIBA U-19 World Championships while Mosqueda-Lewis and Hartley are among those expected to try out for the U.S. World University Games squad. He said that Moriah Jefferson hasn't made it clear that she wants to play for the U-19 team while the condition of Dolson's right ankle and left foot would decide whether she decides to try out for the World University Games team.

"Going to play USA Basketball again because that is something really important to her (Stewart) and they will be playing for a gold medal in the 19-and under World Championship, that is what she lives for is winning, if she has an opportunity to win a gold medal and I hope she does," Auriemma said. "I hope she takes this experience and just builds on it. I hope her confidence level gets to the point where it is unshakable. What  happened this year is her confidence was shook because she had never been in that situation before. I am hoping when she comes back in September she just picks up where she left off, I don';t see why she wouldn't. I am not going to try to project Stewie from a freshman who is the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four to sophomore year, Stewie is the best player in the country college or WNBA. I am not going to put those expectations on her, I am just going to show up in September and enjoy it.

"Kaleena, Bria, Morgan, Stewie (will play for USA Basketball). Moriah don't know, Stef I think it is going to depend on how her leg feels. I am inclined to think she is probably going to take the summer off, that is what I would advise her to do is get healthy and be 100 percent, ready to go in September."

Auriemma said that the Final Four that he was planning to be at the Masters on Friday but he never made it.

"I had every intention on Friday of getting up in the morning, going down there but my flight was at 7:20, I got up at 12:30 and I missed my flight. It was a bad time but I wish I could have gone."

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Blogger MikeMC said...

It's kind of sad that every player is mentioned except Kia Stokes. I hope that Kia understands what separates her from everyone else on her team and makes the effort to commit herself to become the player that I think we all want her to become.

8:51 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

The only players eligible for the U-19 team are the freshmen meaning the other UConn players could only be candidates for the World University Games squad. It's a stretch to expect a reserve player from any team to make that team when they can draw 12 players from every team in the country.

9:11 PM 
Anonymous Joe said...

My guess is that the number that matters to Geno is 10: that would tie him with John Wooden for most NCAA titles.

9 only matters on the road to 10.

11:15 AM 

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