Carl Adamec

Charli Collier (Courtesy of USA Basketball)
Charli Collier (Courtesy of USA Basketball)

Charli Collier made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Texas in eighth grade. Four years later, the 6-foot-4 forward from Baytown, Texas, has done so again. This time, though, it's at the expense of the University of Connecticut.

Collier announced her decision on Twitter Friday that has her backing out of the verbal commitment she made to the Huskies 10 months ago. Instead, she will sign a letter of intent with the Longhorns in November. She is ranked the No. 2 player in the Class of 2018 by ESPNHoopGurlz.

"I feel like this is the best decision for me personally and everything is for a reason," Collier tweeted. "Being closer to home and representing the state of Texas that has been so good to me. I have a good relationship with the coaching staff, they're like family to me. And my family and friends get to see me play and grow into a successful individual at such a prestigious university. This recruiting process has taught me so much about listening to my heart and at the end of the day I have to do what is best for me."

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's road to the 2018 NCAA Final Four will see it travel to 12 states and Canada as the school released its 29-game regular season schedule for the 2017-18 campaign on Wednesday.

The Huskies will play 12 home games -- six each at their on-campus home Gampel Pavilion and at the XL Center in Hartford, 13 on the road, and four at neutral sites.

All 29 games will be televised, including 16 on SNY, which is entering its sixth season broadcasting UConn women's games...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Former WNBA former player Rebecca Lobo (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)
Former WNBA former player Rebecca Lobo (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Rebecca Lobo was the University of Connecticut's first national Player of the Year and also its first academic All-American. So she's quite capable of writing the speech that she'll give Friday night at her Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony.

But if she needed a helping hand, her husband -- author and former Sports Illustrated columnist Steve Rushin -- would certainly be there for her.

"When I went into the Women's Hall of Fame in 2010, he didn't help me," Lobo said. "I wrote that one on the hotel stationery the night before. But it's only 5-7 minutes, so it's pretty much enough time to just thank the people you need to thank and get off the stage."

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Former WNBA former player Rebecca Lobo (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)
Former WNBA former player Rebecca Lobo (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

Words and actions tell Rebecca Lobo's basketball story better than any numbers ever could.

In 121 games over six WNBA seasons, the 1995 consensus national Player of the Year at the University of Connecticut scored 808 points, grabbed 500 rebounds, dished out 115 assists and blocked 104 shots. Among her fellow UConn graduates, Diana Taurasi (twice) and Maya Moore have scored more points in a season; Tina Charles was within 102 rebounds after her rookie year; Sue Bird has recorded more assists in all 16 of her seasons; Breanna Stewart, in two years, leads in blocks.

But 22 years after her final game in Storrs and 14 years after appearing for the last time in the WNBA with the Connecticut Sun, Lobo continues to make a mark on the game.

For her efforts, Lobo will be inducted as a contributor into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night in a ceremony at Springfield Symphony Hall, about a 15-minute drive from her native Southwick, Massachusetts.

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

In the almost 20 years that Sue Bird has been on basketball's national stage, her signature -- and best remembered -- play is a jump shot. Her 15-footer at the buzzer on March 6, 2001, at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs gave the University of Connecticut a two-point win over Notre Dame and the Big East tournament championship.

But history will record that she was best at setting up her teammates for baskets.

The 36-year-old guard had a season high 13 assists Friday night to become the WNBA's all-time leader in that category in the visiting Seattle Storm's 110-106 overtime loss to the Washington Mystics 110-106 at Capital One Arena...

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It could be a 1-2 combination heard around the women's college basketball world.

Christyn Williams -- a 5-foot-11 guard from Little Rock, Arkansas, and the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2018 according to ESPNHoopgurlz -- has scheduled an official visit to the University of Connecticut for Oct. 12-15, she confirmed in an e-mail on Monday. It will be the final visit of the five she has planned for the fall.

She will be joined in Storrs that weekend by Charli Collier, the No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2018 according to ESPNHoopgurlz. Collier -- a 6-foot-4 forward from Baytown, Texas -- made a verbal commitment to UConn last November.

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson warms up before the start of the game against the Oregon Ducks in the finals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson warms up before the start of the game against the Oregon Ducks in the finals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

The next time the University of Connecticut women's basketball team takes the floor will be for preseason workouts at the Werth Champions Center in Storrs.

The Huskies completed the basketball-playing portion of their tour of Italy Sunday by dropping a 79-59 decision to Slovenian and Adriatic League champion Celje in Capodistria. UConn was 3-1 on its trip with two wins over the Netherlands national team and one over an Italian All-Star squad.

All-American Katie Lou Samuelson led the Huskies Sunday with 17 points. Freshman Megan Walker added a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), while All-American Gabby Williams chipped in 12 points and five assists. Point guard Crystal Dangerfield had six assists and three steals.

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 (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)
(David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)

Nothing like traveling some 7,000 miles to break out of a shooting slump.

Kia Nurse won a gold medal at the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 Sunday with the Canadian national team but in six tournament games shot just 28.1 percent from the floor including 21.9 percent from 3-point land. But after traveling Monday from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Rome to join her University of Connecticut teammates on their tour of Italy, the senior guard found her shot.

Nurse scored 18 points -- making 5-of-7 shots including a trio from 3-point land along with all five of her free throws -- Tuesday as the Huskies rolled past the Netherlands national team 88-66 in Game 2 of four exhibition games on their tour.

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Connecticut Huskies guard Saniya Chong (12) drives the ball against Memphis Tigers guard Taylor Barnes (15) in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Memphis 91-48. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Saniya Chong (12) drives the ball against Memphis Tigers guard Taylor Barnes (15) in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Memphis 91-48. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- She played her final college game at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Her new home court is the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, about a half-hour drive if the traffic cooperates.

But to Saniya Chong, it's an entirely different world.

The former University of Connecticut guard beat the odds as a third-round draft pick and proved many people wrong this spring by making the WNBA's Dallas Wings' roster. She has played in 28 of the Wings' 29 games -- the only miss was the Aug. 6 contest against the Los Angeles Sparks as she was in concussion protocol -- and is averaging 3.1 points, 1.1 assists and one rebound in 12.2 minutes off the bench. In her return to Connecticut Saturday, she had a steal in four minutes of a 96-88 loss to the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Tags: Saniya Chong, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma, guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson and center Natalie Butler clap on the bench during the second half against the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. (Raymond Carlin III/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma, guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson and center Natalie Butler clap on the bench during the second half against the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. (Raymond Carlin III/USA TODAY Sports)

STORRS, Conn. -- There were no banners inside Gampel Pavilion the last time the University of Connecticut women's basketball team welcomed six newcomers. 

In 1988, the Huskies had not won a league or national championship. Of course, then there was no Gampel Pavilion either as it would be their last full season playing in the Storrs Field House. But that fall six freshmen -- Debbie Baer, Wendy Davis, Meghan Pattyson, Pam Rothfuss, Shannon Saunders and Stacey Wetzel -- joined the Huskies, and five months later they were Big East champs for the first time and headed to their first NCAA tournament.

A lot has happened and a lot has changed in 29 years. This season, coach Geno Auriemma returns four starters, including All-Americans Gabby Williams, Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, from a 36-1 squad that advanced to the program's record 10th straight Final Four. The Huskies' only loss came in their last outing as their 111-game winning streak and four-year reign as NCAA champ ended.

Helping them start anew are four freshmen and two other players who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. And they get a head start. After a week of workouts on campus here, they will fly out of New York on Saturday to Rome to start an 11-day tour of Italy that will include playing four exhibition games.

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 (AP)
(AP)

Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams have been part of two losses in three seasons with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

The seniors will get the chance to avenge at least one of them.

UConn will play Stanford in its season opener on Nov. 12 in the Countdown to Columbus event to be played at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The Huskies were originally scheduled to take on Ohio State in the one-day showcase at the site of the 2018 NCAA Final Four. But the Buckeyes will now face Louisville in the second game of the doubleheader. Times and television information are still to be determined.

The Huskies lead the overall series with the Cardinal 10-7, including 4-2 in NCAA tournament play. But in the last meeting at Maples Pavilion on Nov. 17, 2014, Stanford received a late 3-pointer from Amber Orrange to force overtime and pulled out an 88-86 victory to snap UConn's 47-game winning streak. The Huskies followed the defeat in Palo Alto by winning their next 111 games. That NCAA record run was stopped by Mississippi State in the Final Four semifinals last March 31 in Dallas.

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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 (Brian Spurlock)
(Brian Spurlock)

STORRS, Conn. -- Uniform No. 3 was just another number for the first 25 years of the University of Connecticut women's basketball program.

Only two players wore it -- Shea Matlock and Tammy Arnold. Matlock played one year here and transferred to Georgia Tech after the 1994 season. Arnold was at UConn for two years before transferring to Oregon State near her home of Oregon City after the 1997 season.

Then coach Geno Auriemma convinced Diana Taurasi to take No. 3 and the rest is history. Taurasi (2000-04) would become one of the greats of the game, a three-time national champion and All-American and two-time national Player of the Year. Tiffany Hayes (2008-12) would be next and she'd win two titles and finish among the the top 10 scorers. Morgan Tuck (2012-16) followed and was a four-time national champion and All-American.

So why would freshman Megan Walker, already under the microscope coming in as the 2017 national high school Player of the Year and the top recruit in her class, want to take on that responsibility?

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

STORRS, Conn. -- Diana Taurasi is considered by many to be the best women's basketball player in the world, and is quick to credit a number of her coaches for helping her along the way.

But when it comes to helping her be a better person, the former University of Connecticut star and four-time United States Olympic gold medalist is quick to give credit to Huskies' associate head coach Chris Dailey.

"She made me a respectable human being," Taurasi said last Friday. "When you're around CD, there's a certain way to live life. I didn't understand it at the time I was in school. But now that I look back on it, I learned as much about life as I did about basketball with her. Every time I see her, I thank her for that."

The WNBA's Connecticut Sun will show their appreciation Tuesday night when Dailey is given the Margo Dydek Award in a ceremony at halftime of the Sun's game with Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, and the Seattle Storm at Mohegan Sun Arena. The award, named after the former Sun center, is given to an outstanding woman who has distinguished herself while positively impacting the local community...

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Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

University of Connecticut sophomore Crystal Dangerfield has seen enough opponents celebrate in the last six months to last her a lifetime.

On March 31, it was Mississippi State that charged the court after its upset in the NCAA Final Four semifinals ended the Huskies' 111-game winning streak and four-year reign as national champion.

Then Sunday, Dangerfield and her United States teammates watched Russia grab the gold at the FIBA U-19 World Cup. The 6-foot-4 duo of Raisa Musina and Maria Vadeeva combined for 59 points and 29 rebounds as Russia ended Team USA's U-19 run with an 86-82 victory in the championship game in Udine, Italy.

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Kia Nurse is back to her usual busy self.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's senior guard was named Friday to the Canadian national team that will participate in the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug. 6-13. The top three finishers in the event receive bids to the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Spain.

After her time in Buenos Aires, Nurse will join her UConn teammates in Italy for the remainder of their tour there.

Tags: Kia Nurse, Carl Adamec
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Nov 30, 2015; Chattanooga, TN, USA; Connecticut Huskies logo prior to the game between the Chattanooga Lady Mocs and the Connecticut Huskies at McKenzie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)
Nov 30, 2015; Chattanooga, TN, USA; Connecticut Huskies logo prior to the game between the Chattanooga Lady Mocs and the Connecticut Huskies at McKenzie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Stefanie Dolson has always been a unique individual but has never failed to be a team player.

After graduating from the University of Connecticut and winning her second national championship with the women's basketball team in 2014, the 6-foot-5 center from Port Jervis, New York joined the WNBA's Washington Mystics as the team's first-round draft pick. Part of her change to professional life was to dye her hair purple.

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 (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Moriah Jefferson has always been filled with positive energy.

Over nine seasons -- five years scholastically with THESA (Texas Homeschool Educators Sports Association) and four years in college with the University of Connecticut -- her teams never lost the final game of their postseason.

But in her second year with the WNBA's San Antonio Stars, she is being tested -- on and off the court -- like never before. The Stars Thursday night's home game with the Indiana Fever at 2-18, five games clear for the worst record in the league and seven games behind the final playoff spot with 14 games to play.

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Connecticut Huskies players leave the court after losing to the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs defeated the Connecticut Huskies in overtime 66-64. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies players leave the court after losing to the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs defeated the Connecticut Huskies in overtime 66-64. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team has had more than its share of top moments at the ESPYs over the past 25 years.

The Huskies, though, were on the other end during the annual awards in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Mississippi State's 66-64 overtime win at the NCAA Final Four semifinals on March 31 that ended UConn's 111-game winning streak and four-year reign as national champion won the ESPY as "Best Upset" of the past 12 months. The Bulldogs were considered about a 21-point underdog.

Of course, the ESPYs were far from the first time -- or the last time -- UConn will be reminded of that night at the American Airlines Center when guard Morgan William hit a shot at the buzzer to send Mississippi State to the title game against South Carolina.

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 (Jeffrey Swinger)
(Jeffrey Swinger)

In their first game as a starting backcourt, they combined for a pedestrian 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's 36-point victory over Villanova at Gampel Pavilion.

Who knew on Feb. 4, 2001, that Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi would go on to be the best their sport has seen? Their then-college coach and later their coach for seven years with the United States national team had an idea.

"I have always said from back in 2002 that they'd be the best backcourt in the history of women's basketball -- college basketball, pro basketball, any kind of basketball -- and I said time will prove that," Geno Auriemma said last month. "It certainly has. You'll never find something like that ever again. It's too improbable for it to happen again. Those two are pretty special. There's nothing to compare them to. There really isn't."

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies guard Molly Bent defends against Tulsa Golden Hurricane guard Tatyana Perez during the fourth quarter at Donald Reynolds Center. (Brett Rojo/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Molly Bent defends against Tulsa Golden Hurricane guard Tatyana Perez during the fourth quarter at Donald Reynolds Center. (Brett Rojo/USA TODAY Sports)

On the second offensive possession of her career with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team, Molly Bent reached the center-court line and threw a perfect lead pass to a sprinting Napheesa Collier for a layup.

A national TV audience and a crowd of 4,753 inside the Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida, saw it. One soul missed it -- the person doing the game statistics at Florida State, who gave the assist to Saniya Chong.

In a way, it sums up Bent's freshman season. As UConn coach Geno Auriemma put it, never had he seen a player work so hard and get so little reward out of it.

As the 5-foot-9 guard prepares for second year with the Huskies, she has a foundation for success. But she knows she must build confidence in herself and trust with her coaches and teammates to get meaningful minutes on what could be UConn's deepest roster in years.

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Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (5) reacts in the second quarter against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (5) reacts in the second quarter against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Sophomore point guard Crystal Dangerfield spent a part of June talking to her University of Connecticut women's basketball freshman teammates about her experiences from her first collegiate season.

"I tell them my stories from last year and I have a lot of them," Dangerfield said. "I think ... No, I know, it will be different for each of them and it is going to be hard. But I want them to know I'll be there to listen and to talk to them."

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Carl Adamec
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 (Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports Images)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- During her incredible basketball career at the University of Connecticut, Breanna Stewart spoke often about her goal of winning four national championships. At least that's what the three-time national Player of the Year was asked about the most.

Little did anyone know she had so much more to add. Fifteen months after stepping off the court for the final time as a Husky at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and winning that historic fourth consecutive NCAA title, she's becoming known as much for her activism as for her skills on the floor.

"I wasn't asked about it at UConn. I wasn't asked about certain things that were happening in the world," Stewart said Thursday. "So it's you (media) guys' fault. I think I would have said the same things. CD (UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey) and I would have talked about it prior if it was something I wanted to do and was constantly asked about it.

"You don't think about it so much at UConn. There's so much going on. CD has you doing so many things. My first season at Seattle, there were things that needed to be talked about. When I was at the ESPYs last year, it seemed like there was a lot happening in our world and instead of having the generic 'Thank you very, thank you to my family, blah, blah, blah,' I wanted to make it about something really important, something that needed to be said and heard."

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Mikayla Coombs (USA Basketball)
Mikayla Coombs (USA Basketball)

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Napheesa Collier has always let her actions speak for her, whether it was helping the University of Connecticut women's basketball team win a national championship in 2016 or earning consensus first-team All-America honors a season ago.

So when the junior forward was told Monday that the Huskies' freshman class has given itself the nickname of "Fantastic Four" months before its first official college practice, Collier chuckled, rolled her eyes a bit, and shook her head with a smile before staying in character with a brief comment.

"Oh my goodness. It's great that they have a name for themselves, I guess," Collier said.

For sure, UConn's Class of 2021 -- Mikayla Coombs, Lexi Gordon, Andra Espinoza-Hunter, and Megan Walker -- will get the opportunity to live up to their hype. Even with three All-Americans among their four returning starters and with transfers Azura Stevens and Batouly Camara now eligible, the Huskies will likely need their freshmen to contribute if they are to regain the national championship.

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WNBA former player Rebecca Lobo speaks as NBA former player Tracy McGrady listens during the Naismith Hall of Game Press Conference at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Joe Camporeale)
WNBA former player Rebecca Lobo speaks as NBA former player Tracy McGrady listens during the Naismith Hall of Game Press Conference at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Joe Camporeale)

Could it have been anyone else?

Rebecca Lobo and Geno Auriemma are already linked together forever in University of Connecticut women's basketball history. The two will come together again in September when Lobo's place in hoop history becomes permanent.

Auriemma will serve as Lobo's presenter when she is enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, in a ceremony at Springfield Symphony Hall on Sept. 8. A presenter must be a member of the Naismith Hall. Auriemma was inducted in his first year of eligibility in 2006.

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) reacts after a play against he Oregon Ducks during the first half in the finals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) reacts after a play against he Oregon Ducks during the first half in the finals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II)

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Katie Lou Samuelson was feeling her age Monday as she observed some of her teammates working at coach Geno Auriemma's Fore the Kids charity tournament at Hartford Golf Club.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior All-American turned 20 two weeks ago.

"We have more younger guys than older guys and it's weird that now I'm one of the older guys," Samuelson said. "We need to bring a certain level every day to help us get where we want to go."

Only two Huskies -- seniors Gabby Williams and Kia Nurse -- have played more minutes at the college level than the 6-foot-3 guard. And while they return four starters -- including three All-Americans -- from their 36-1 team that reached the NCAA Final Four for the 10th consecutive year, nine of the 13 on the roster will be playing their first or second seasons at UConn. That group includes transfers Azura Stevens and Batouly Camara and four freshmen who make up what is considered a top-three recruiting class nationally.

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Geno Auriemma calls to his players during the first half against Mississippi State. (AP)
Geno Auriemma calls to his players during the first half against Mississippi State. (AP)

CROMWELL, Conn. -- For the first time in nine years, Geno Auriemma has a summer without United States women's national basketball team responsibilities.

The University of Connecticut's Hall of Fame coach has worked on his tan but not so much on his golf game, though that would be hard to believe after seeing his drive off the first tee at the Travelers Championship Celebrity Pro-Am at TPC River Highlands Wednesday find the fairway.

"It's been busy," Auriemma said. "You don't realize that when you're doing the national team stuff, they leave you alone. The minute they think you don't have anything to do? It's been a lot. And there's a lot more to come. So this will be as busy a summer as I have ever had. I'm looking forward to it."

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 (Jonathan Dyer)
(Jonathan Dyer)

For almost two decades, one of the highlights of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's schedule was its annual nationally televised game played in January on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Starting with their memorable win over Tennessee in 1995 at Gampel Pavilion through 2013, the Huskies compiled a 15-4 record on the holiday against some of the best competition the Big East and the nation had to offer.

When UConn made its move four years ago to the American Athletic Conference, though, the schedule also changed. But as dates are being made public for the Huskies' 2017-18 season, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day game tradition is returning.

Texas will host UConn on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 15, at the Frank Erwin Center. The game is the second of a home-and-home series with the Longhorns. UConn defeated Texas 72-54 at Mohegan Sun Arena last Dec. 4. It will be the second holiday meeting between the Huskies and Longhorns. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2005, UConn posted a 73-57 victory in Hartford.

With UConn releasing the dates for its non-league home games Monday, the only date still to be announced on the Huskies' 13-game non-league slate is their trip to national champion South Carolina.

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Connecticut Huskies center Kiah Stokes (41) defends against East Carolina Lady Pirates guard/forward Jada Payne (23) during the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies center Kiah Stokes (41) defends against East Carolina Lady Pirates guard/forward Jada Payne (23) during the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- From the night two years ago that the New York Liberty traded up into the first round of the WNBA Draft to select her, Kiah Stokes has been proving people wrong.

Yet it seems that the biggest challenge for the 2015 University of Connecticut honors graduate and third-year New York Liberty forward is proving to herself that she belongs at the highest level.

"I'm just trying to be more confident," Stokes said Wednesday. "That's always been my issue. My coaches mean a lot to me and my teammates mean a lot to me and I'm just trying to fill the role that is asked of me.

"It's not like I doubt myself. I want to do well and do what I can for my teammates."

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Kara Wolters always dreamed big.

As she grew up in Holliston, Massachusetts, the daughter of former Boston College basketball star Willie Wolters picked up the game that helped her father reach his school's Hall of Fame. As she grew to 6-foot-7, maybe she could be the next Anne Donovan, an Olympic gold medalist and Hall of Fame center who would later be her coach with the WNBA's Indiana Fever.

Wolters became a star at Holliston High School and caught the eye of University of Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, who offered her a scholarship that she accepted early in her senior year.

In the Fall of 1993 she arrived in Storrs. But instead of showing her stuff on the court at the start, the Olympic gold medalist she needed to emulate was someone more like Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

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Dan Rolfes looked forward to having the chance to watch his former player, Napheesa Collier, and the University of Connecticut women's basketball team play.

But throughout the 6-foot-1 forward's All-American sophomore season he kept having flashbacks to their time at Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis when the Rolfes-coached Red Knights captured three straight Missouri Class 4A state championships.

"It's so amazing," Rolfes said during a break in the United States U-16 national team trials in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he served as a court coach. "I'd sit there and watch with my assistants and it's so much like Incarnate Word with the high-percentage shots, a lot of times defending the post because of her size, being able to guard a guard or guard a post. What I saw this year was what I saw at Incarnate.

Tags: Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Maddie Burke (USA Basketball)
Maddie Burke (USA Basketball)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Celeste Taylor took part in the United States U-16 national team trials in 2015. When she returned to the United States Olympic Training Center for this past weekend, she brought some company: Philadelphia Belles AAU teammates Maddie Burke and Kylee Watson.

"I told them that it's a great opportunity," Taylor said Sunday. "They've put so much into it."

The three have taken advantage of that opportunity. On Monday, Taylor, Burke, and Watson were among 18 players named as finalists for the U-16 team that will take part in the FIBA Americas Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 7-11.

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 (USA Basketball)
(USA Basketball)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Aliyah Boston's effort as an applicant candidate at the 2016 United States U-17 national team trials earned her an invitation from USA Basketball to this weekend's U-16 trials at the United States Olympic Training Center.

But the 6-foot-3 forward from Worcester Academy in Massachusetts knew that being a finalist for the U-17 team meant nothing as far making the U-16 team. So she used last year's bid that fell just short as motivation to represent her country for the first time.

"Being last year helped with my preparation because I saw what I needed to work on," Boston said on Friday. "I worked on all of that and the usual things I do to get better -- jump shots, free throws, post moves. I just kept working every day to get better. I wanted to be better running the floor and posting up strong every possession. I want to show that I have an outside game. And I want to show that I'm mentally tougher."

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 (USA Basketball)
(USA Basketball)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Carla Berube got a taste of what it would be like working with USA Basketball a year ago as a court coach at the U-17 national team trials.

The former University of Connecticut star and the 15-year Tufts University women's basketball coach now has a full plate in front of her. She is at the United States Olympic Training Center here as the head coach of the U-16 team that will take part in the 2017 FIBA Americas Championship June 7-11 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"Carol Callan (USA Basketball women's national team director) gave me a call around Final Four time and asked if I would be interested in being the coach for this," Berube said Thursday night. "And when Carol Callan calls you, you jump at whatever she needs. The opportunity to represent your country and USA Basketball is amazing.

"Last year working here definitely piqued my interest, and certainly that experience was important for USA Basketball and the committee. I guess they liked what they saw. It was such an awesome experience last year."

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 (USA Basketball)
(USA Basketball)

Charli Collier is a veteran of two USA Basketball national team trials and is used to facing older players, but her bid to make the 2017 U-19 squad this weekend has a different feel.

The 6-foot-4 forward and University of Connecticut Class of 2018 commit from Mont Belvieu, Texas, is one of three players at the trials with high school eligibility remaining. 23 of the 33 players invited to the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, recently finished their freshman year of college, including UConn guard Crystal Dangerfield and seven others who played against the Huskies.

"I trained differently than I did a year ago for this age group because you have players that have college experience here," Collier said in a phone interview Friday. "They're stronger and faster and more physical and playing against them is going to be great for me going back to my high school team. Next year, I'll be a senior, I'll be 18 and headed to Connecticut, so this is a cool experience...

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Sophomore Crystal Dangerfield and incoming freshmen Mikayla Coombs and Megan Walker will get to visit Italy with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team during its tour in August.

They'd also like to make the trip in July for the FIBA U-19 world championships with the United States national team.

Dangerfield, Coombs, and Walker are among 33 players who have accepted invitations to take part in the U-19 trials that will be held May 18-21 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Also headed to the trials are UConn Class of 2018 commit Charli Collier and 2018 recruiting target Christyn Williams.

Team USA will go for its seventh straight U-19 gold medal at the tournament to be held July 22-30 in Cividale del Friuli and Udine, Italy. The Americans will be led by University of Pittsburgh coach Suzie McConnell-Serio...

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Carl Adamec
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A WNBA basketball sits on the floor. (Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports)
A WNBA basketball sits on the floor. (Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Kelly Faris walked off the floor for the last time at New Orleans Arena with 2:04 remaining and the University of Connecticut women's basketball team well on its way to a win over Louisville in the 2013 NCAA championship game.

It would mark the sixth time in eight years -- four times at Heritage Christian in Indianapolis and twice at UConn -- her team would win its final contest of the season.

But the winning didn't follow her to the WNBA. In four seasons with the Connecticut Sun, the former first-round pick has not seen the postseason.

"It's been frustrating, very frustrating," Faris said. "I was fortunate enough to be on some great teams in high school and college. I'm going into my fifth year as a professional and I would love nothing more than to be in the playoffs."

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma listens during a press conference after the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. (Kevin Jairaj)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma listens during a press conference after the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. (Kevin Jairaj)

Gabby Williams had seen the act before.

Five days before the University of Connecticut women's basketball team faced Mississippi State in the NCAA national semifinals at American Airlines Center in Dallas last Friday night she watched Morgan William and the Bulldogs stun Baylor in overtime to get to their first Final Four, earning the All-American junior forward's admiration and respect.

"It's what March is about," Williams said. "Teams are going to fight. Players are going to hit shots outside their comfort zone when it really matters. It goes to show it doesn't matter what your seed or anything is, it all depends on how you perform that night."

Truer words have never been spoken and last Friday night Williams saw it all happen again right in front of her. All that was left was to give props to the victors.

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Rebecca Lobo, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this fall, celebrates after UConn won the 1995 NCAA title. (Courtesy University of Connecticut)
Rebecca Lobo, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this fall, celebrates after UConn won the 1995 NCAA title. (Courtesy University of Connecticut)

Rebecca Lobo always enjoyed visiting the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The former University of Connecticut star will now have a permanent spot there.

Lobo, a native of nearby Southwick, Massachusetts, will be part of the Hall's Class of 2017, it was announced Saturday. She will be inducted as a contributor.

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 (Bill Streicher (USA Today))
(Bill Streicher (USA Today))

DALLAS -- Napheesa Collier will be 21-years-old on Sept. 23.

Her coaches and teammates with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team may not be aware of the exact date. But there are 12 WNBA general managers that are. Since her 22nd birthday is during the 2018 calendar year, Collier will be eligible to enter the 2018 WNBA Draft.

But before Husky Nation begins to panic, the All-America forward said Thursday she has no plans to move on until her eligibility is done in 2019.

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma (L) looks on from the sideline against the Southern Methodist Mustangs in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma (L) looks on from the sideline against the Southern Methodist Mustangs in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)

DALLAS -- Geno Auriemma wanted to prove a point to his University of Connecticut women's basketball team Thursday about the Huskies' 60-point win over Mississippi State in last year's NCAA Sweet 16 victory.

So the 2017 Coach of the Year was awake early and watched tape. Moriah Jefferson was here, Morgan Tuck there, and Breanna Stewart everywhere as UConn did a number on the Bulldogs in the most lopsided regional semifinal win in tournament history. His emphasis later in the day to the Huskies in the locker room and at their workout, though, was on what he did not see.

"There's nobody on our team right now that had anything other than, 'I was at that game,' to do with that score," Auriemma said. "If you watch that game, Stewie looked like an NBA player playing against high school kids. Moriah was so much better than anybody on the floor. And Tuck just dominated long stretches of the game. So the score was 32-4 at the end of the first quarter."

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Feb 27, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Connecticut Huskies coach Geno Auriemma looks on during the second half against the South Florida Bulls at USF Sun Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)
Feb 27, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Connecticut Huskies coach Geno Auriemma looks on during the second half against the South Florida Bulls at USF Sun Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)

DALLAS -- Since 1989, Geno Auriemma's University of Connecticut women's basketball team has won at least 23 games on 28 occasions. The one miss came in 1993 when the Huskies finished 18-11.

The Big East Coach of the Year that season was Georgetown's Pat Knapp. The WBCA national Coach of the Year was Iowa's C. Vivian Stringer. Yet, some would still argue -- 11 national championships, 17 Final Four appearances, 40 league titles, and 24 years later -- that Auriemma may have done his best or one of his best coaching jobs just to get that team, which lost its last three games (the Huskies haven't lost two in a row since), into the NCAA tournament.

Whether Auriemma did his best job with his current club has entered the debate. After losing the top three picks of the 2016 WNBA Draft -- All-Americans Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck -- the Huskies went unbeaten against the toughest non-league schedule in the country then swept through the American Athletic Conference for the fourth straight year. UConn will take a 36-0 record and 111-game winning streak into Friday night's Final Four semifinal game against Mississippi State at the American Airlines Center.

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Carl Adamec
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 (Phil Sears/USA Today Sports Images)
(Phil Sears/USA Today Sports Images)

DALLAS -- It was a 45-second video, but it made the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's day.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant sent his best wishes via video and through Nike this week to the Huskies, who take on Mississippi State in a NCAA Final Four semifinal game Friday night at American Airlines Center.

"It was obviously really exciting and he's the GOAT so anytime you can have the GOAT talk to you it's a great day," UConn guard Kia Nurse said. "He had a goal to win and that's what he was known for. So you look at someone of his caliber and the career that he had, that he took time out of his day to sit down and send us a video we are very grateful."

Stanford, which like UConn is affiliated with Nike, also received a video from Bryant. The Cardinal face South Carolina in the opener of Friday night's doubleheader.

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Mar 19, 2017; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) reacts after her three point basket against the Syracuse Orange in the second half during the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Syracuse 94-64. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2017; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) reacts after her three point basket against the Syracuse Orange in the second half during the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Syracuse 94-64. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS -- Kia Nurse won't be named an All-American during Final Four weekend. The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior guard is only playing like one during the NCAA tournament.

Nurse shot 75.8 percent from the floor and 76.9 percent from 3-point land while averaging 18.3 points during the Huskies' successful four-game run through the Bridgeport Regional. But when it was time to lift UConn into the Final Four for the 10th consecutive season Monday night, Nurse did what she does best -- play stifling defense -- to get the job done. 

Nurse kept Oregon freshman guard Sabrina Ionescu under wraps while the game was being decided and the top-seeded Huskies built an insurmountable lead as they coasted to a 90-52 win over the No. 10 Ducks at Webster Bank Arena.

Tags: Kia Nurse, Carl Adamec
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The Connecticut Huskies pose for a photo after defeating the Oregon Ducks 90-52 in the finals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II)
The Connecticut Huskies pose for a photo after defeating the Oregon Ducks 90-52 in the finals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Three 2017 NCAA tournament regional champions took home nets after advancing to the Final Four.

The nets that the University of Connecticut women's basketball team wants, though, are still attached to the baskets at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

So while their newest t-shirts read "Cut the Net" and they wore them proudly Monday night, no ladders were needed following the top-seeded Huskies' 90-52 win over No. 10 Oregon in the Bridgeport Regional final at Webster Bank Arena. Though it is not a team rule -- associate head coach Chris Dailey asked the starters on the bench in the final seconds if they wanted to do it -- they maintained their tradition that started in 2009 with Renee Montgomery that the only time they cut down a net is after the national championship is secured.

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. (Raymond Carlin III/USA Today Sports Images)
. (Raymond Carlin III/USA Today Sports Images)

BRIDGEPORT -- Saniya Chong was celebrating with her University of Connecticut women's basketball teammates Monday night after their 90-52 win over Oregon in the NCAA tournament Bridgeport Regional final at Webster Bank Arena.

The senior guard then heard her name announced over the public address system and could not figure out why. So she turned to classmate Tierney Lawlor to find out why.

Lawlor -- the Dean's List student she is -- of course, had the answer. Chong had been selected to the regional all-tournament team, the first such honor of her career...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Napheesa Collier, Saniya Chong, Tierney Lawlor, Carl Adamec
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GEICO SportsNite: UConn advances 00:03:17
The UConn women's basketball team defeated Oregon, 90-52, to move on to their 10th straight Final Four appearance.

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- As time wound down on the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's 90-52 rout of Oregon in the NCAA tournament Bridgeport Regional final at sold-out Webster Bank Arena, coach Geno Auriemma mentioned to his players that it was the Huskies' 10th straight Final Four berth.

Newly-minted All-American Katie Lou Samuelson, who has been ridden hard by Auriemma for two seasons now, was not impressed.

"You suck. You're not very good at this," Samuelson said to the Hall of Fame coach with full sarcasm.

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 (Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The old saying that the best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores could not ring more true for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

While Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson were key contributors to the Huskies' 2016 national championship as rookies, they always knew that Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck would be there to bail them out if needed. But the Big Three's graduation meant Collier's and Samuelson's days in the background were over if UConn was to remain among the elite.

Among the reasons the Huskies are one win away from their 10th straight NCAA Final Four appearance is the play of their sophomore sensations. They were rewarded for their efforts Monday by being named to the five-player Associated Press All-America first team...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma waits for the officials from the sideline as they take on the UCLA Bruins during the second half in the semifinals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma waits for the officials from the sideline as they take on the UCLA Bruins during the second half in the semifinals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- In their three seasons with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team, the Huskies have not lost a game that Kia Nurse has started nor one that Gabby Williams has played in.

But with a career mark of 111-1 and through two national championship runs, the UConn juniors know to take nothing for granted.

So while the numbers favor the top-seeded Huskies in their NCAA tournament Bridgeport Regional final showdown with No. 10 Oregon at Webster Bank Arena Monday night, the only numbers that matter will be the ones on the scoreboard after 40 minutes of action.

"The fact that you get to go to a Final Four doesn't happen every single year," Nurse said. "I could go to the Final Four this year, and it could be my last one. Last year's could be the last one that I ever go to.

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Oregon Ducks forward Ruthy Hebard shoots against Maryland Terrapins guard Kaila Charles during the first half in the semifinals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)
Oregon Ducks forward Ruthy Hebard shoots against Maryland Terrapins guard Kaila Charles during the first half in the semifinals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Ruthy Hebard was born in Chicago but was less than a week old when her adopted family brought her to Fairbanks, Alaska, to live.

When the 18-year-old University of Oregon women's basketball team's freshman center arrived in the 49th state the biggest name in Alaska high school ball was Jessica Moore, who was the 1999 and 2000 state Gatorade Player of the Year before moving on to the University of Connecticut.

"I have heard of her," Hebard said on Sunday. "She was a great player and played at UConn. I've never met her. I wish I could."

If Moore is following her alma mater in the NCAA tournament, she'll have a chance to see Hebard in action. The top-seeded Huskies take on No. 10 Oregon in the Bridgeport Regional final Monday night at Webster Bank Arena.

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 (Logan Bowles)
(Logan Bowles)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Batouly Camara hasn't recorded a point, rebound, or blocked shot for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team this season as she sits out due to NCAA transfer rules.

But the 6-foot-2 forward from New York City fulfills her role in practice, working to improve her game and helping her teammates get better. So far, so good.

"It's been extremely rewarding," Camara said. "I've learned so much this year. The most important part for me has been to stay focused so that I can help the team anyway that I can. I come in every day with a role and I want to execute that role. When I'm in practice, I'm challenged. Am I getting better every day? Am I helping the team get better every day? What am I doing to get better? What else can I do? That's kept me motivated...

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