Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

UConn's Auriemma reunited with one of his coaching idols

I can't even begin the place a number on the number of press conferences or media availability sessions involving Geno Auriemma that I have been involved with in the last decade and a half. I can, however, say with absolute certainty that I can't recall a time when the Hall of Fame coach looked more star struck then when he noticed former Virginia men's basketball coach Terry Holland standings at the back of Wednesday's press conference.

Holland, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year during his impressive run with the Cavaliers, spent nearly a decade as East Carolina's athletic director and is now the emeritus AD. You could tell that it absolutely meant the world to Auriemma, a successful assistant women's basketball coach at Virginia before taking the job at UConn, that Holland not only was in attendance at the game but came in to listen to the press conference as well.

"You know one of the best coaches in the history of the ACC is standing right back there," Auriemma said. "Coach Holland, he was my idol when I was coaching at UVa, I wanted to be like him. He had four dummies as assistants, he didn't listen to any of them and I always thought that was pretty smart. That was a great listen but he had selective hearing which I thought was really good.

"I learned a lot of my stuff from him. I used to go and watch practices all the time, even some of the drills we do know we used to watch them do. Those four years I probably  learned more about basketball than all of other years combined."

Perhaps the only thing more stunning that UConn's 15 first-half turnovers might have been the Huskies going 19 of 23 from the free-throw line in the win over East Carolina.

UConn missed a least 1/3 of its foul shots seven times in the first 11 games and misfired on 16 free throws in the last two games. Yet, the Huskies calmly connected on 19 of 23 foul shots in the win over the Pirates.

"I don't have any idea anymore," Auriemma said. "I am beginning to think after all of these years of coaching, the less that you work at something the better you are at it. We spend all this time shooting free throws, we get into the game and don't make them. Then you go a week and you don't practice any of them and you make them. It is like our press against Duke, we didn't want to work on it because when we work on it in practice, it all kind of falls apart in practice and you lose confidence in it
Breanna Stewart led the way going 8 of 8 from the line making it the 23rd game that Stewart was perfect from the line while attempting multiple foul shots. Morgan Tuck was 4 of 4 on foul shots.


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