Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, October 17, 2014

This was one night to remember at UConn

There used to be a time when fans would show up several hours beforehand on the day of the annual basketball fan fest now known as First Night.

There was a dip in the interest which was obviously noticed at UConn because those responsible for athletic marketing obviously put in a lot of work in preparing for this year's event.

There was a lot to work with since both teams are coming off winning national championships and ESPN was in the house. However, the people at UConn deserve tons of credit for putting their thinking caps on because this was as good of a First Night/SuperShow/Midnight Madness event as I can remember (and I came to my first one of these 15 years ago).

It started with the dedication of the basketball practice facility named the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center. Then there was the always popular autograph signing session.

Once First Night began UConn paid homage to its championship pedigree having a member of a title-winning squad walk each of the 13 national championship trophies onto the court. The appearance of UConn legends like Ray Allen and Sue Bird certainly added some energy to the evening's festivities.

Then came the brilliant idea of unveiling both national championship banners.

Last year have the men's and women's teams take part in a mixed-gender scrimmage was a hit and it was a fitting end to the event with Team Geno edging Team Kevin 38-37.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Morgan Tuck each hit 3-pointers for Team Geno while Kia Nurse had four points and Moriah Jefferson an unforgettable assist to Rodney Purvis with an alley oop for Team Kevin.

"They work so hard and I know it is extra special for them because they were underdogs," UConn senior center Kiah Stokes said. It is fun to celebrate with them because we both (won titles),

"It is great to have a great fan base, it is one thing to play in front of fans that have to drive in but when you have the local kids on campus that come to campus, it is just amazing. I think they are the best fans in the country, some schools might disagree but they support us whether we win or lose."

Another bonus was having freshman Gabby Williams, who saw her junior and senior seasons of high school end prematurely due to torn ACLs, taking part in the scrimmage - her first full 5 on 5 action since arriving on campus.

"There is no more thinking anymore, no more worrying," Williams said, "I am just out here having fun."

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