I had the opportunity yesterday to have an amazing Thanksgiving with some family and friends. It was filled with great food, lots of laughter, gut busting stories, and a song or 30 of karaoke. For me it was the perfect way to spend the holiday, however, about 30 minutes away in Storrs, Connecticut there were 11 young ladies, spending their Thanksgiving, perfecting the game that they are all so thankful to play.
UConn is heading into this weekend playing 3 games in 3 days, in the World Vision Classic, so there was no time to take a day off. So their appetizer to a weekend of cupcakes, started with a practice at 9:30 AM on Thanksgiving morning. They were then scheduled to follow that up with a feast at Connecticut Huskies coach Geno Auriemma’s house.
"I think they're a fun group to have over,'' Auriemma said. "I enjoy it. I know Kathy (Auriemma's wife) enjoys it. My mom's going to be there. She enjoys it. A lot of their parents are coming over, so it's a huge crowd. But that's what Thanksgiving's supposed to be about. If you can't be home, that's the next best place to be."
Being only a few hours away is a bit of a tease even for freshman guard Bria Hartley. Not enough time to head home but that’s okay with the star.
"I’m usually home around my family," Hartley said. "But this is my new family so it’s nice to have my first Thanksgiving with them."
After the evening of fun, games and some group bonding, it will be time for the Huskies to get down to work.
UConn will first square off against the Howard University Bison (2-3) on Friday at 7:30 PM at Gampel Pavillion. Following that game will be a contest against the Lehigh University Mountain Hawks (1-3) on Saturday at 7:30 PM. Competition concludes on Sunday at 4:30 PM, with a game against the surprisingly struggling, Tigers from Louisiana State University (2-3).
It’s not the same class of tournament like the UConn men experienced in Maui but it will make due for the young Huskies. It's good," sophomore guard Kelly Faris said. "We need the experience in the games. We need to get into the atmosphere of the games, the refs and the calls. Get up our stamina. It will be good for us to work on some things."
The Huskies are not expected to be challenged this weekend, even against the normally formidable opponent that is LSU. The Tigers already have three defeats including to Northwestern, Ohio State, and their last game out, to Tulane. Great news for them is that they should have their second leading scorer, junior LaSondra Barrett, who missed last game due to a death in her family.
Howard is led by sophomore forward Saadia Doyle. Doyle averages 22 points per game. The Bison score 53.6 points per game while allowing opponents to score 61.6 points per game. UConn by comparison scores 83 points per game and only allows 50.7 from their opponents.
Lehigh has played UConn three times in history going 0-fer for their troubles. This is the second time they have played an undefeated UConn Huskies team.
The 1996-1997 Connecticut Huskies were undefeated (30-0) heading into the NCAA tournament, their first round opponent was none other than Lehigh. Unfortunately for UConn’s current assistant coach Shea Ralph, this was the game where she tore her ACL streaking to the basket in a 103-35 win for the Huskies. UConn went on to lose in the Elite 8 to eventual champion Tennessee.
This tournament is aptly names because walking away UConn will surely have a clearer picture and vision of their team.
Records Are Meant to Be Broken: Fun Fast UConn Facts
- UConn senior Maya Moore needs 97 points to pass Tina Charles for # 1 on the All Time Scoring List.
- UConn has gone 230 games without an opponent scoring over 50% from the field. Baylor University shot exactly 50% earlier this season.
- Geno Auriemma passed former NC State Coach, Kay Yow, for 8th on the Winningest Victories List at 738, with Sunday’s win over Georgia Tech.
- UConn is now tied with Washington University of St. Louis for the longest winning streak in NCAA Women’s Basketball history. Division III Washington won 81 games in a row from 1998-2001.
- The Huskies have won their last 238 games against unranked opponents at home. UConn’s last home loss to an unranked foe came on Feb. 27, 1993 vs. Georgetown. To put this in perspective, half of the Huskies were infants the other half were toddlers when someone was able to shock UConn at home.