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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

UConn's Auriemma reflects on latest milestone

In many ways, the press conferences after UConn defeated Cincinnati was more interesting than what happened at the XL Center on Tuesday night.

The victory was the 900th of Geno Auriemma's career. He became the sixth Division I women's coach to reach that mark and joined former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt as the only one to do it all at the same school.

Certainly Auriemma reflected on the journey to winning 900 wins faster than any other coach, said that he and Chris Dailey arrived at UConn with a blank canvas and they were able to paint a portrait of incredible success. However, if you want to know the key to his success, it was revealed when he said one of the most rewarding aspects of the night was seeing to continued emergence of freshman Gabby Williams, who led the Huskies with 18 points and 14 rebounds in victory No. 900.

"For me going undefeated is not as important to me as maybe it used to be, now I just want to process to be good, players to get better," Auriemma said. "Watching Gabby Williams play tonight, that makes the process really enjoyable for me. Watching somebody get that good in front of your eyes, that makes the process really, really cool. I can coach a long time if I can watch what I am seeing in her every week, every week, every week."

Williams was humbled to hear what her coach had to say.

"It is very motivational and it makes me want to play this great for him all the time and hopefully I can just bring out more," Williams said.

Auriemma wasn't serious all the time during the question and answer session as his legendary wit was on display especially when he was asked to reflect on which former player's thoughts on the impressive video put together by UConn touched him the most.

"We restricted Barbara (Turner) and her ability to express herself and I guess that was a message to me, actually a message to CD and not me so that one made me chuckle a little bit and Angel McCoughtry saying we should have recruited her, that might have been the highlight of the night. I definitely would not have gotten to 900 if I had recruited her, one of us would be in jail and it would probably be me. There were some chuckles along with the way with those two."

The big news of the day in the women's basketball world other than Auriemma's milestone win came when ESPN reported that former UConn star Diana Taurasi would not be playing for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury this summer. 

"I wouldn't be surprised that  if those players who are making a lot of money overseas and their livelihood doesn't depend on them playing in the WNBA, I wouldn't be surprised if this happens more often because it is such an unnatural lifestyle," Auriemma said. "Maybe it is a lot of fun when you are 25 but I don't know if you can sustain that. She won a WNBA championship for them last year, there is never a right time to not to play but maybe in her mind this is the best time. from what I understand, she is definitely playing next summer, she is taking the summer off this year but she has to play next summer because if she tries out for the Olympic team, I will cut her if she is not in great shape."


Anonymous Carl Andersen said...

What Auriemma apparently didn't know was that UMMC Ekaterinburg paid Taurasi more than her 6-figure WNBA salary (according to a report on not to play this year.
Sounds like agricultural subsidies not to plant particular crops, eh?

1:27 AM 
Anonymous Joe said...

What impressed me most about Geno's post-game press conference was his response to the question, "is it good for women's basketball for one team to be so dominant?" (or something along those lines).

He said, "to be great, you need something to aim for. I hope someone hearing me speak tonight uses my words as motivation. We are going to continue to get better, and so if you want to beat us, you really have to work hard to get there."

8:52 AM 

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