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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Huskies of Honor a chance to reflect at UConn

It seemed only natural that while the members of the 2002-03 and 2003-04 national championship teams gathered this weekend that some of their magical moments would be played for them all to take a trip down memory lane.

So before seven members of those teams were on hand at Gampel Pavilion as their teams were inducted into the Huskies of Honor, they spent some quality time with UConn coach Geno Auriemma.

"We were watching the game last night and we were watching the Texas game (in the 2003 Final Four) and at some point during the game they all took turns saying to each other 'how did we win that game?'" Auriemma said. "It brought back a lot of great memories, you got a chance to see and a chance to relive some of their moments and they are still as feisty as they were.

"They came to shootaround, it was a fun weekend I am glad we got a chance to do it. I am glad we will be fortunate enough to do this again with a couple more teams in the future."

With some of the players (most notably Diana Taurasi) still playing and others involved in coaching at the collegiate level, it was impossible for the entire team to come back but it still made for a memorable experience for the ones who were able to make it.

"It was great to see my teammates," Ashley Battle said. "It is terrific, we are spread out all over the country, all over the world and whenever we get a chance to meet up we try to. We are here now enjoying something that we worked very hard for.

"It is different. It looks a lot different in here from when I played before, the Husky dog is different, there are LED lights all over the place but home is home."

It isn't always easy for people like Battle, who live out of state, to attend UConn games but even for a Connecticut native like Maria Conlon, this was a special occasion.

"It was nice to come back and relive the glory days for a couple of days and see everybody's families, see how everybody has grown professionally and emotionally, it was amazing," Conlon said.

Auriemma took particular delight in Battle's admission that she understands what he was trying to get accomplished now that she is a coach herself.

"Some of these guys that are coaching I shake my head and say 'you've got to be kidding me,'" Auriemma said.. "I saw her this morning and she said 'I hate to say this but you were right about everything. I find myself saying every day 'you guys don't get it.' "

"It is great," said Battle, who is in her first year as the head coach at Chartiers Valley High in Bridgeville, Pa.. "I had a conversation with Coach earlier today and I said I understand everything you were trying to instill in us and I know understand completely.

"I always had a knack for the game and I played so much, this is just a way for me to give back. "

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