Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Freshmen getting crash course on life at UConn

Watching some of women's basketball's greatest players led UConn to a record 11 national titles, it's no wonder that year after year some of the nation's best high school players can't wait to sign with the Huskies.

However. there's much more to playing for Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma than cutting down nets and joining the Huskies of Honor. The new batch of UConn freshmen have been on campus for a month now and it's safe to say that they are learning what it takes to play at UConn.

With Amanda Kimball running the conditioning program, the UConn players had one set of conditioning drills resulting in running, running and some more running.

"The stuff that has been hard is conditioning but last Monday we had conditioning running up and down the football field and it just didn't seem it would ever end but we are getting there, it is a day by day process," Mikayla Coombs said.

Megan Walker, the No. 1 ranked player in the nation as a high school senior, also reflected on the rather challenging recent workout,

"The conditioning was an eye opener but that is on every campus," Walker said. We are getting better day by day, week by week. I think we can really see it, the coaches can see it so that is going to be good."

There were a couple of topics I wanted to address with the freshmen - Espinoza-Hunter finally arriving at UConn after making her first unofficial visit as a seventh grader and Coombs' take on the other seniors on the Wesleyan School basketball team paying their way out to Chicago to watch Coombs play in the McDonald's All-American Game.

Let's start with Espinoza-Hunter.

"The first time was in seventh grade while Saniya (Chong) was being recruited by UConn and I tagged along with her," Espinoza-Hunter said. "I don't remember the game, it was a while back. I just remember being in awe, every time I went to a game I was in awe, just the fans they always have me in awe, I am always shocked.

"Every time I went to a game, I always wanted to be on the court. I am really looking forward to the season and what the future has in store for this group."

When I went to Jordan Brand Classic media day, I caught up with Jan Azar (Coombs' high school coach and coach in the JBC) and she told me about the tidbit of Coombs' teammates flying out to Chicago in support of Coombs. That certainly speaks volumes about the kind of teammate that Coombs has been.

"I've played with many of them since the seventh grade and four of them I played AAU with so they have been extremely supportive of my ride through basketball so that was just the peak of it," Coombs said. "We talk every day. They are really supportive, they are my best support system."


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