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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Alums return to watch UConn's run at history

It's impossible to walk through either Gampel Pavilion or the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center and not be constantly reminded of the absolute juggernaut that Geno Auriemma has built at UConn.

However, Auriemma doesn't often take time to marvel at the incredible run of success even with posters, pictures and banners features images of his best players seemingly around every corner.

Recently, however, that all changed.

"One day, I don't remember when it was but I might have been going to the training room," Auriemma said, "I walked across the court and there was nobody in the building, 7 o'clock in the morning and it was dead empty, silent and when I was walking across the court I just stopped. I looked around the only time I can remember and I go 'wow.' Times like that kind of hits you with what we've done, then another time was (Tuesday) night when I saw all of our former players, you look at them, kind of shake your head and go how could one program be blessed with that many great, great players."

It's not unusual to see former UConn stars show up for the Final Four. The recent stars usually are overseas so it is hard for them to take in games during the regular season. If a tally was kept on the number of former UConn stars in attendance at a game, it is more than likely the number who made their way into the locker room after the Huskies won the national championship would have easily been the most in program history.

"It was really cool," UConn senior forward Morgan Tuck said. "There were a lot of people I haven't been able to meet yet. Just to have them come in and see how excited they were for us, to be able to spend time with the people who really made UConn what it is today is really cool."

More than once in the postseason Auriemma referenced the great players of the past and present that he has coached at UConn. He was asked about his Pyramid of Success at a press conference since there were multiple attempts to once again link him with UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden, who won 10 national titles and it gave him a chance to once again focus the attention to where he thinks it belongs - with his players.

"If you asked me where Coach Wooden's pyramid of success was I couldn't name you one of them. So my pyramid of success is the same as his. His was (Lew) Alcindor, (Bill) Walton, and Gail Goodrich, and you name them down the line. Mine is Diana (Taurasi), Maya (Moore), Stewie, that's my pyramid of success. I think that's every great coach's pyramid of success. So once you start with that then you go, 'OK, well, he got the absolute best players in America every year. We get the best players in America every year.' That's what everybody thinks."

Seeing Moore, Tina Charles, Jen Rizzotti, Rebecca Lobo, Sue Bird and Asjha Jones among the UConn players of the past in Indianapolis and clearly the Huskies don't lack for talented prodigies among its alumni base.
"Just to see all those names on the wall that you see every day in practice, to see them in person and see how much they really still care about this program, everything they put in, the legacy, we wouldn't be here without them," UConn sophomore guard Kia Nurse said.


Blogger MikeMC said...

I always enjoy reading about the alums that follow the current UCONN team, but do you have an actual list of who attended the game? The TV cameras panned in on Sue Bird, Dolson, and Maya Moore but there must have been many others. It would be nice to hear more about them and their thoughts abut this year's team and their accomplishments.

8:46 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

I don't have the complete list but Svet Abrosimova, Sue Bird, Heather Buck, Tina Charles, Stefanie Dolson, Caroline Doty, Kalana Greene, Asjha Jones, Cassie Kerns, Kaili McLaren, Renee Montgomery, Maya Moore, Paige Sauer, Ann Strother, Mel Thomas were players I saw. That doesn't include college coaches who were obviously in Indianapolis like Carla Berube, Jamelle Elliott, Willnett Crockett, Morgan Valley or Rebecca Lobo, there working for ESPN.

When the national team came in there were tons of quotes from Maya Moore, Sue Bird, Stefanie Dolson and Diana Taurasi about this year's UConn team which were used during the national team training camp as well as features during the NCAA tournament.

10:56 PM 
Blogger MikeMC said...

Thanks a lot Jim. That's quite an extensive list. I wondered about Heather Buck as her name hasn't been mentioned since she graduated yet she was beloved by so many while she was playing for UCONN. The same goes about Doty.....she was a fan favorite but rarely mentioned after she left.

8:35 PM 

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