White House Visit Planned; Bolingbrook High reunion
The Huskies will have an audience with President Barack Obama at 2:30 p.m. and the event will be streamed live at www.whitehouse.gov/live
With the WNBA seasons set to begin for UConn All-Americans Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson so Tuesday fit the schedule for the UConn players, coaches and officials at the White House. It will be the fourth straight trip to the White House for UConn's Big 3.
"I think what makes it more exciting is that it is kind of the last thing that us three will do together and our team," Tuck said. "It is Obama's last time with his presidency so it is kind of cool to see him again for the last time.
"I think it is different each year but this year it is different because I will never be going back with the UConn team and if I do go back it won't be President Obama in the office, it will be a different president so that is kind of what makes it different."
This will be the program's 10th trip to the White House. There was no trip for the Huskies after winning the national title in 2000.
REUNION TIME FOR TUCK, MASSENGALE
Obviously tonight's matchup between former UConn teammates and roommates Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck is garnering much of the attention but there was another reunion for Tuck during the two days of WNBA preseason basketball at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Among the players vying for a spot on the Atlanta Dream is Ariel Massengale, Tuck's teammate for three seasons at Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School.
"I played with Ariel from fourth grade on and throughout high school so for us to be kind of the same position now in high school and see her, that is really cool," Tuck said. It is cool to be able to do something with somebody who is pretty much like a sister who I have known my whole life."
Massengale, who played collegiately at Tennessee, and Tuck were members of three consecutive Illinois 4A championship teams under the guidance of Tony Smith at Bolingbrook. While Atlanta and Connecticut did not play on either Wednesday or Thursday, the former high school teammates did get a chance to meet up.
"We got in town Tuesday, her and her mom sat down, we hung out for about an hour or hour and a half," Massengale said. "I watched her play yesterday and sat next to her mom so it was good to catch up with her.
"It is exciting. Morgan and I have been playing together since we were in the fourth grade and to play our first preseason game on our first day, it was wonderful. I was so happy to see her out there. Our dads started us out young coaching us up so it is something we worked for. She went to UConn and won four national championships. Now she is here, our high school and our hometown are very proud of us.
"It was great. Our coach, he pushed us every single day. We told him our dreams and our goals and he made sure we accomplished those."
Massengale become one of three players in Tennessee's illustrious history with at least 1,000 points and 500 assists. Having played at the highest level of women's college basketball, Massengale may have more appreciation than most people of Tuck being a part of four national championship teams in her four seasons at UConn.
"It is hard to put that into words," Massengale said. "It was a beautiful thing to watch. I am so proud to say I know her, I know the work she put in from the start of it so I am not surprised that she has been able to accomplish the things she has.
"She has always been a great kid, a lot of fun. When she was younger she was a little quiet and now she is a little more outgoing, she has grown into herself. She has always been a lot of fun and we had a good time together."
Massengale was taken in the third round of the 2015 WNBA Draft by Atlanta but did not play last summer after undergoing knee surgery. She played 11 minutes and had two points in the 74-67 loss to San Antonio in her pro debut.
"I am coming back from injury after a year and to be on the court again, I am happy and just trying to take full advantage of it," Massengale said. "It is extremely hard (to miss the 2015 season) but I believe everything happens for a reason, I learned from it, I am healthy, I am 100 percent and ready to go."
TUCK TO RING BELL
Tuck will be among those representing the WNBA taking part in the ringing of the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.
Tuck will be joined by WNBA President Lisa Borders, WNBA Chief Operating Officer Jay Parry, WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations Renee Brown as well as Epiphanny Prince of the New York Liberty.
"I never really thought about it before or knew much about it but to go and do that, people look at it every day and it is people's jobs so I think it is pretty cool that I get to do that," Tuck said.