Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Connecticut Sun's Stricklen reflects on loss of her mentor

With Minnesota in town for tonight's WNBA contest at Mohegan Sun Arena, I did catch up with former UConn stars Maya Moore and Renee Montgomery and will have something coming up on them in the coming days. However, this is my first chance to catch up with former Tennessee star Shekinna Stricklen since the passing of legendary Lady Vols' coach Pat Summitt.

Stricklen said "I cried until I couldn't cry anymore."

Stricklen was among Summitt's former players to make it to Knoxville to get one last chance to see her mentor.

"It helped me come to peace with everything, seeing her peacefully, not hurting and not suffering made me feel a lot better," Stricklen said. "I cried until I couldn't cry anymore but it was good that my teammates (supported me), all the coaches were there, (Connecticut Sun coach) Curt (Miller), (Sun general manager) Chris (Sienko) everybody was there for me and it made me feel a whole lot better. It was not just my family back home (supporting her) but being in Connecticut is also a family."

The chance for different generations of Lady Vols gathering aided all of those who made the trip.

"We were able to come together, share our stories from her team in 1974 all the way to 2012, all of them were there and we were able to share stories, laughing and it made everybody feel better," Stricklen said. "She impacted me more off the court. On the court she stayed on me because I was so laid back, I can hear her always screaming at me not to be so laid back but off the court, she was very loyal, very respectful. She treated everybody the same it didn't matter who you were and I really got that from her.

"Last week was very emotional for me. I was able to go to Knoxville and I was able to get to see her on Monday which really helped me out a lot. Just being around her left me with a lot of memories. Every memory, every moment with her I will never forget."

Since Summitt's death Stricklen has been blown away by the reaction to the passing of a true legend.
"It's amazing to see so many people wearing 'We Back Pat' shirts, writing about her and knowing she is a legend," Stricklen said. "She really made women's basketball. Seeing that so many people see all that she has done and brought into the game is amazing."

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