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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

One final ride through Hartford for UConn seniors

In each of the last three years there must have been times when Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck thought there would be no end in sight to their time playing at UConn.

However, there was a sense of finality as the trio took part in their final UConn Victory Parade.

"There is no more 'we'll be back next year' for our senior class and that makes it hit home," Stewart said. "Coming out here today, this is probably the last time we will see all of these UConn fans in their element. It makes you realize that all that they've done, all that's happened here and how it have been a great four years."

UConn Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma was ill and was not able to take part in the festivities so there would be no bold proclamations other than Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin saying "same time, same place next year."

The only promise that UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey made to the crowd was not to make any promises. However, the expectations won't wane even with the departure of arguably the greatest recruiting class in women's basketball history moving on.

"It is bittersweet because it is fun to see them get kind of emotional about everything that is going on," UConn sophomore forward Gabby Williams said. "I think things like this, it kind of starts to sink in but at the same time we know they are leaving which is obviously really sad.

"They have taught all of underclassmen how to keep the tradition going, what is means to be a Husky. Those three have really paved the way for us, they really taught us how to keep it going."

The last time the players were greeted by fans came on Wednesday when there was a rally inside Gampel Pavilion upon the team's arrival from Indianapolis. That was the first time Tuck was greeted by Husky Nation after making it official that she would not be returning for a fifth season of eligibility and would be eligible for the WNBA Draft, being held at Mohegan Sun Arena,

"It is a lot of fun and it is great to see all the support we are getting," Tuck said, "I am just trying to enjoy this time with my team. I know our time is coming to an end shortly where we aren't going to be doing team things so I am trying to make the most out of every moment."

The trio finished with an NCAA Division I women's basketball record 151 wins as well as the four national titles since their arrival but not all the memories Jefferson, Stewart and Tuck have to fall back upon have to do with their basketball exploits.

"It was a goal," Jefferson said of winning four titles in four seasons. "I definitely thought about it and kept saying in my head over and over that I can not believe we won four in a row, it is history and I will be in the history books forever.

"The memories we are going to have are mostly going to be off the court, the bond we have created through the years ... They are truly my best friends, they will be in my wedding and I will be in their weddings."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim -

Why do Stewart, Jefferson, and Tuck get credit for 151 wins? Stewart and Jefferson each missed 1 game this season. Stewart missed a couple games and 1 March Madness game early in her career. Tuck missed at least 5 games this seson. Tuck missed all but 8 games 1 season.

Maya Moore's 150-4 continues to get discredited by the use of "class". Maya had zero control over Lorin Dixon being the only other 4 year senior in that class. Fans continue to forget how great Maya was. It was not Maya's fault for not being 6'4" with a wingspan of a 7'1" player.

It is 1 thing to call Stewart 1 of UConn's and NCAA's 3 best ever. But the talk of Tuck being 1 of UConn's all time top 10 is ridiculous. UConn and WCBB fans tend to forget the impact that other players had during UConn's last 21 seasons. All this talk of Stewart "winning" 4 NC is a disservice to Hartley, Dolson, KML, Stokes, etc.

Stewart might have won 1 NC if her 4 year team consisted of Nurse, KLS, Collier, Gabby, Chong, Butler, Ekmark, 2 walk ons. But I am certain that Maya and Diana would have won NC with the teams Stewart played with.

If credit is given to Stewart for being the so called "best ever", then Tuck had it easy to succeed at UConn. Tuck never had to carry a UConn team for 1 year. And her struggles getting the ball up over the rim from 2 feet away in AAC play conveniently get forgotten.

Stewart was never a leader at UConn, something that the greatest players in sports tend to be. Jefferson at least had the ball in her hands for 3 seasons, and just like Sue Bird, should get all the credit for running the show.

Critics said that Wilt Chamberlain's success was becasue of his genetics and the lack of other players with such genetics. Critics of Brittney Griner said most of her success was because of 6'8" height and long frame, while playing against smaller players all the time.

Stewart does not get criticized for a good portion of her success being directly related to her constantl hyped wingspan. Even as a long time UConn fan, I just think media and fans should rate players on an equal platform. And remember all the players who contributed to each of the past 4 NC.

7:02 AM 

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