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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

UConn's Auriemma likes makeup of national team staff

As far as women's senior national team head coach Geno Auriemma, it would be hard to top the staff he was given to work with for the upcoming world championships.

As expected, DePaul's Doug Bruno is back after serving as Auriemma's right-hand man during the last Olympic cycle. Former Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley, who has been touted as a potential national team head coach for years, was named to the staff along with Cheryl Reeve, who has coached the Minnesota Lynx to a pair of WNBA titles.

"We have just enough of all the things you would like to have, you have some experience, you have some new people," Auriemma said on Wednesday at the New York Athletic Club where he was to receive the prestigious Winged Foot Award. "Dawn played for, I don't know how long in the Olympics, Doug was (coaching) in the World Championships and Olympics, Cheyl has been in the (WNBA) finals in the last three years so we have a little it of everything, Chris (Dailey) is going to come over with us to do all the scouting and organize that stuff.

"It is an exciting time. Now that I know what the expectation level is, it makes it a little bit easier to plan for it. First time through all of this stuff I am not sure what is going to happen."

Assistant coaches Marisa Moseley and Shea Ralph offered assistance to the national team during preparations for the 2012 Olympics but they will stay behind in Connecticut to take care of the day to day operations of the UConn program while Auriemma and Dailey are away. But a familiar face could be helping out.

"We are going to try to get Jennifer (Rizzotti) to do it," Auriemma said. "That is one great ting about USA Basketball, it you get involved with it early, every thinks I want to work with USA Basketball but I want to be an assistant to the Olympics, I want that to be my first job or I want to be the coach of the 18 and under (team) in the World Championships but you start out doing the little stuff like Jennifer, that is what they did so USA Basketball is really good at rewarding those people.

"We kind of have an interesting scenario with the coaches and the players. We want the players who have won so we can bring an experienced team over there but we want the players who lay the groundwork for the next Olympics and the same  thing with the coaches, we want experienced coaches who have done that but we want younger coaches who down the road can take over."

Auriemma is excited to see UConn incoming freshman Kia Nurse playing for the Canadian national team at the World Championships. Auriemma said he's been hearing about the possibility of an exhibition game between the U.S. and Canada in September although he does not know the date or site.

Nurse's national team responsibilities will limit the amount of time she will be able to spend on the UConn campus this summer.

"Kia is only going to come up for a couple of days to get some paperwork done because she is going to spend the whole summer with the Canadian national team and I think we are scrimmaging them somewhere," Auriemma said. "I think we have a scrimmage lined up between their national team and our national team at some point in September, I am not sure exactly when an then I will get to see her in Istanbul the whole time we are there so I am excited for it and I know she is excited. I know it is a hell of a thing for a 17 year old to be on her national team, it doesn't happen very often.

Auriemma is anxious for Nurse and fellow incoming freshmen Sadie Edwards, Courtney Ekmark and Gabby Williams to arrive on campus for summer session.

"A couple coming in the May session, it is going to be a short one, the rest off them will be there in June, a five-week session, one week in July and all the high school kids will be coming up as soon as their high school graduations are over," Auriemma said.. "All four of them are set."

For those wondering about Auriemma's reaction to former Georgetown star Natalie Butler transferring in, NCAA rules prohibit him commenting until she signs financial aid paperwork.

Speaking of the NCAA, the Academic Progress Report numbers were released today and UConn posted a perfect 1000 score during the 2012-13 season and had a multi-year APR score of 989.

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