COLLEGE BASKETBALL STORRS, Conn.
Auriemma about to reach 900 wins at UConn, still focused on fundamentals.
When you see coach prowling the side line one would think that he was a short Italian monster, until the camera shows the first two or three rows behind him at every game and watch the girls reactions after game time.
Players return to watch and reminisce about their days playing for coach.
PAT EATON-ROBB-Associated Press
Women practice/play/hard all season long with little if any respect, why?
Because you do not see them in print because of shameful exercise off the court or playing field.
They play good, hard but clean basketball!
Kerry Bascom Poliquin remembers exactly what made her want to play for a brash young Geno Auriemma and his unheralded UConn Huskies back in 1987.
“While other coaches were telling her how big a star she was going to be in college, Auriemma told her how hard she would have to work and that she would get out of his program only what she put into it.”
“The same thing he said to us is what he says to his players now,” said Bascom Poliquin, who starred on Auriemma’s first Final Four team in 1991.
“It’s about hard work; it’s about practice and it’s about doing things the right way.”
Auriemma’s way has led to nine national titles and 899 wins in 30 years.
He can get win 900 against Cincinnati today, a team the Huskies beat on the road just over a week ago, 96-31.
The victory would tie Auriemma with former Texas Coach Jody Conradt for fifth place on the all-time list, 198 wins behind former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.
The list of college women’s basketball coaches who have reached the 900-win plateau also includes North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchel (953 wins), Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer (945) and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, who was going for her 944th Monday night against Washington.
If UConn wins Tuesday, Auriemma would have 900 wins in 1,034 games, faster than any coach in men’s or women’s basketball.
Conradt, who like Summitt coached for 38 years, said she marvels at how well Auriemma’s teams do the little things — making the extra pass, getting back on defense and taking the best available shot in the flow of the offense.
“He’s really become the gold standard,” she said. “His legacy won’t be about how many games he’s won, it will be about how many championships.
He’s built a dynasty up there out of basically nothing.”
Auriemma doesn’t like to talk about milestones, but said reaching win no. 900 gives him a chance to thank players such as Bascom Poliquin, Rebecca Lobo, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore and everyone else who bought into his system along the way.
He’s also at the root of a coaching tree that includes Cincinnati coach Jamelle Elliott,
who played on his first national championship team in 1995,
I have a jersey signed by her, she played my type of game down in the paint often against players towering over her and came away with the rebound or scored the basket.
Jamelle was ten times the player I ever was!
Tonya Cardoza, who was an assistant for 14 years before becoming Temple’s coach, and Jen Rizzotti, the guard on the 1995 team, who now coaches at Hartford.
Connecticut Geno Auriemma reacts during the second half of a game against South Florida last month in Storrs, Conn.
JESSICA HILL / AP