Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Wrapping up UConn's First Night

Just got home after covering UConn's First Night festivities and with the combination of me being a little loopy because of the amount of cough medicine and cough drops I have in my system and the fact that I will be getting up early for tomorrow's UConn football game, I will keep this somewhat brief (or at least brief by my standards).

First, kudos to the fans and/or the UConn marketing staff. It didn't seem too long ago that the interest in the First Night/SuperShow/Midnight Madness event was trending in the wrong direction. However, with a hockey game taking place at the same time, there was barely an empty seat in the house. I think it helps to have the event be mostly basketball related, no silly contests that made the event drag on and having plenty of t-shirts thrown to the students is never a bad idea.

As for the competitions, Moriah Jefferson hit nearly every shot in winning the 3-point shooting contest.. Katie Lou Samuelson, who eliminated Breanna Stewart in the semifinals, didn't shoot poorly in the finals but there was no stopping Jefferson.

"I was just trying to get (shots up) fast," Jefferson said. "In the first round I didn't realize how much time I had so this time I wanted to get them up as fast as I could and they ended up going in."
I thought with this being her final First Night or should that be her first Final Night, Stewart would take part in the dunk contest. She coyly said "I wasn't asked."

The scrimmage featuring the men's and women's teams being split into two teams was a competitive affair won by Team Geno 63-56 over Team Kevin. This event has often become a dunk fest for the men's players but Kia Nurse did have six points, two rebounds and three assists and Stewart four points, two rebounds and three assists for the winning squad while Napheesa Collier having eight points for Team Kevin with many of them coming with some strong work on the offensive glass.

"Obviously they weren't trying that hard (on defense) but I was just trying to swoop in and get them," Collier said. "I haven't been here before so it is my first time experiencing this and just seeing what support we have, it was really cool."

Freshman De'Janae Boykin, who is dealing with an Achilles issue after seeing most of her senior year of high school lost due to a wrist injury, did not take part in the scrimmage. Neither did Natalie Butler, who was hit in the thumb by a ball in a recent practice. Morgan Tuck is dealing with a minor hamstring issue and was held out of the event. None of the three will be practicing tomorrow. I'm not sure if there will be any access next week but if not, I am sure there will be updates on all three of them at American Athletic Conference women's basketball media day next Monday.

There was plenty of praise for the freshman class. Geno Auriemma compared their approach, mindset and maturity level to the Stewart-Jefferson-Tuck class which is pretty high praise.

There's a lot more to get to including Stewart saying that she felt like she belonged alongside some of the world's best players at the recent U.S. national team training camp and European tour and I will get there eventually but with a noon football game to cover, I'm not exactly sure when eventually will be.

It was a highlight to see Ray Allen in attendance. I had one previous dealing with Allen and it was when he was with the Milwaukee Bucks and the UConn women played in a regional in Milwaukee. I was interviewing him in the locker room when the time that the locker room was open came to an end. He asked me if I needed more time with him and I said yes so he graciously walked outside so I could finish my interview. Considering that this was the first time he had even met me and how easy it would have been for him to say 'sorry but the time is up', I came away very impressed with Allen.

I was asked to check on whether ESPN3 would carry streams of the games televised on SNY and I was told by the people at UConn that the setup is the same as last year so some games will be subject to blackout in the SNY coverage area but will be available on an archive basis.

There was no live stream of tonight's festivities and with UConn streaming the hockey game, there will not be an archive of the event either so I did my best to get out as many videos as I could and here they are.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home