(Rich Barnes)
(Rich Barnes)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Gabby Williams' answer was short and sweet when asked if she could get the three rebounds she needs for 1,000 in her career with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's during Friday night's NCAA Final Four semifinal game with Notre Dame at Nationwide Arena.

"I'll try," she said with a smile.

To Williams, rebounding is all about effort and there's little short or sweet about it. The only short part would be her height. If she gets the three rebounds, the 5-foot-11 All-American senior forward would become the seventh UConn player with 1,000 but, the first to be listed at under 6-feet tall.

Tina Charles, who visited the Huskies' locker room following their 94-65 rout of South Carolina in the Albany Regional final Monday night, is UConn's all-time leader with 1,367 rebounds. She is followed by Maya Moore (1,276), Rebecca Lobo (1,268), Breanna Stewart -- who was also in Albany to cheer on her alma mater (1,179), Stefanie Dolson (1,101), and Jamelle Elliott (1,054).  

"It just shows her toughness, especially because she is so much shorter," UConn forward Napheesa Collier said. "I know she can jump really high, but she is so tough she will go get it, she will box you out to get it. She is obviously athletic, but she is really skilled, as well."

In 35 games this season -- she missed one with a left hip injury, Williams is averaging 11.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.2, and 2.5 steals. She ranks ninth in rebounds, second in assists, fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio, and third in steals among American Athletic Conference players. She was named to the AAC all-tournament team and was the Most Outstanding Player of the Albany Regional as the Huskies (36-0) remained unbeaten. That follows a 2017 postseason that saw her placed on the AAC, Bridgeport Regional, and Final Four all-tournament teams.

Williams' athleticism was well known well before she arrived in Storrs. Before suffering two tears to the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee at Reed High in Sparks, Nevada, she was an Olympic-level high jumper. She was a two-time state champion in the event and at age 15 finished fifth with a leap of 6'2.25" -- tying the United States record for a high school sophomore -- at the 2012 USA Olympic Track & Field trials in Eugene, Oregon.

She was also a guard at Reed High before moving to the frontcourt with the Huskies.

Of course, I was a rebounder in high school," Williams said. "That was nothing new when I came here. Even though I was a guard, I've always thought you could rebound from any position and I've always taken pride in rebounding.

"Guards can rebound, too. Anyone can rebound. It doesn't take a talent. You just go and get the ball. It's effort. It's working hard at it. That's why anyone can be a good rebounder. You have to be in the right place at the right time and you need to be aggressive."

She may have been a rebounding guard in high school, but Williams wasn't going against 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4, or 6-foot-5 post players very often like she sees on most nights at UConn.

Against South Carolina, the 2017 AAC and WBCA national Defensive Player of the Year matched up with 6-foot-5 Gamecocks' All-American A'ja Wilson. She could see Notre Dame's 6-foot-2 Kathryn Westbeld or 6-foot-4 Jessica Shepard. In last year's national semifinal, Williams spent a good portion of time guarding 6-foot-7 Mississippi State center Teaira McCowan. The Bulldogs are back in the Final Four and take on Louisville in Friday's first national semifinal.

"When I came here freshman year I came in with the mindset that I could play all positions, and I think I told the coaches they could put me wherever they needed me pretty much," Williams said. "It was more of me wanting to be a versatile player and wanting to get playing time. I wanted to find the best way that I could mold myself into the team. I embraced it because it was an opportunity for me to actually contribute.

"It wasn't that big of a transition at all. The coaches put me there, because I was able to do everything I was good at. I was able to get those rebounds. I was able to set those screens. And defensively, I was still doing kind of the same thing anyway. So it wasn't that bad. Them doing that actually made the transition for me easier."

Williams' has recorded 24 double-doubles in her career, 23 via points/rebounds. On Jan. 24, 2017, she recorded the fifth triple-double in UConn history with 16 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists in a win over East Carolina at Minges Coliseum.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma compared Williams' efforts on the boards to that of Elliott, who was generously listed at 6-foot when she became the second Huskies' player with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

"There are just some people who go get the ball," Auriemma said. "Some people get rebounds that come to them. Gabby goes and gets rebounds. That's a big difference, and that is probably why she has so many.

"You don't teach somebody how to be great rebounders. You can teach somebody how to box out. You can't teach somebody how to be a great rebounder. That is a mindset. That is when a shot does up and a kid goes, 'I want that shot. I want that ball.' You become a great offensive rebound and a great defensive rebounder."

Williams' breakdown is 690 defensive rebounds and 307 offensive rebounds.

All six 1,000 rebounders at UConn also scored at least 1,000 points. Williams enters Friday night's contest with 1,570 points, 22nd on the Huskies' all-time list. She is in UConn's Top 20 in assists (475, 14th), steals (304, fifth), and blocked shots (100, 17th). Only Moore has 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 assists, 300 steals, and 100 blocks.

"That just speaks to Gabby's effort and hard work," UConn forward Azura Stevens said. "She is practically a guard, but she really goes after the boards hard. It's fun to watch her sky in the air or battle to get those rebounds. There are different times when me, her and Phee are all rebounding and going against each other. Gabby is really high energy on the boards, and it speaks to how complete her game is."

Friday night's game will be No. 149 for Williams. She could join an exclusive list in the 1,000/1,000 club, but she would rather be remembered as a three-time national champion.

"Once I leave here and look back on it I will appreciate it a lot more, but we don't really focus on milestones or individual accomplishments here," Williams said. "We try to stay in our zone and focus on what is ahead of us to our next challenge."

And that's not getting three rebounds, but beating Notre Dame.

CHRISTYN WILLIAMS NAMED MVP OF McDONALD'S GAME

Consensus national high school Player of the Year an UConn-bound Christyn Williams had 22 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday to lead the West to an 82-79 win over the East in the McDonald's All-American Game at Phillips Arena in Atlanta.

Williams, a 5-foot-11 guard from Little Rock, Arkansas, matched the third-highest point total in the game's history. Sabrina Ionescu, now a sophomore at Oregon, had 25 points two years ago. Williams is the second Huskies' recruit to be named the MVP of the McDonald's Game. The first was Ann Strother, who was co-MVP with Tennessee recruit Shanna Zolman, at the first McDonald's girls game in 2002 at New York's Madison Square Garden.

UConn-bound Olivia Nelson-Ododa had eight points and eight rebounds for the East. The 6-foot-4 forward from Winder, Georgia, was a finalist in the Powerade Jam Fest slam dunk competition.

Williams and Nelson-Ododa will play in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 8 at the Barclays Center in New York.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Gabby Williams, Carl Adamec

UConn Hoops and UConn Health 00:01:44
During UConn's win over Seton Hall on Saturday, SNY's Justine Ward spoke with Dr. Cory Edgar about basketball injuries and recovery.

During UConn's win over Seton Hall on Saturday, SNY's Justine Ward spoke with Dr. Cory Edgar about basketball injuries and recovery.

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UConn falls to FSU 00:00:45
Dan Hurley's Huskies battled, but ultimately fell to Florida State on Saturday, 79-71, as UConn dropped to 7-3 on the season.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Terance Mann scored 20 points, reserve David Nichols had 16 and No. 11 Florida State beat Connecticut 79-71 on Saturday night in the second game of the Never Forget Tribute Classic.

Mfiondu Kabengele added 15 points for Florida State (8-1), which has won three in a row. Christ Koumadje finished with seven points and 10 rebounds.

Alterique Gilbert led UConn (7-3) with 24 points. Jalen Adams had 15, and Tarin Smith finished with 12 points.

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UConn beats Seton Hall, 99-61 00:00:31
Katie Lou Samuelson led UConn past Seton Hall on Saturday, 99-61, as the Huskies remained undefeated on the season.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Katie Lou Samuelson scored 26 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to lead UConn to an easy 99-61 win over former Big East rival Seton Hall on Saturday.

It was just the second career double-double for the 6-foot-3 All-American, who also had six assists.

Napheesa Collier had 18 points and Crystal Dangerfield scored 16 for Connecticut (9-0). Freshmen Chrisyn Williams (15 points) and Olivia Nelson-Ododa (13) also reached double figures.

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UConn wins, 90-63 00:01:19
Jalen Adams led UConn to a 90-63 win over Lafayette on Wednesday, as the Huskies improved to 7-2 on the season.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Jalen Adams scored 21 points and Tyler Polley added a career-high 16 to lead UConn to a 90-63 rout of Lafayette on Wednesday.

Christian Vital had 14 points and Alterique Gilbert dished out a career-high 11 assists for the Huskies (7-2).

Paulius Zalys had 13 points to lead Lafayette (2-6), which lost its third consecutive game.

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Feb 18, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier (24) shoots against Temple Owls guard Tanaya Atkinson (22) in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Feb 18, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier (24) shoots against Temple Owls guard Tanaya Atkinson (22) in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

ST. LOUIS (AP) Napheesa Collier had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Katie Lou Samuelson scored 20 points and top-ranked UConn beat Saint Louis 98-42 on Tuesday night.

The Huskies (8-0) have won 123 consecutive regular season games. Crystal Dangerfield added 18 points, and Christyn Williams had 17.

Myia Clark led Saint Louis (4-5) with 18 points.

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UConn Women upset Notre Dame 00:01:06
UConn upset Notre Dame at home, winning 89-71. The Huskies will likely take over the top spot in the rankings with the win

Freshman Christyn Williams scored a career-high 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting and No. 2 Connecticut never lost the lead after the 6:36 mark of the first quarter in dominating No. 1 Notre Dame 89-71 on Sunday.

All-American Katie Lou Samuelson, who was held scoreless by the Irish in the first half, had 15 points, including a three-point play that gave Geno Auriemma's Huskies a 74-64 lead with 6:08 to play. The Huskies' biggest lead was 19 points late.

Napheesa Collier added 16 points with 15 rebounds. Crystal Dangerfield scored 13 points and Megan Walker had 12 as the Huskies (7-0) ended a 28-game winning streak at home by Muffet McGraw's Irish, who beat UConn 91-89 in overtime in last season's NCAA semifinals on way to their second national championship. In its last 100 games at home, Notre Dame is 97-3 - with all the losses coming against the Huskies.

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UConn falls short to Arizona 00:01:11
UConn fell short at home to Arizona. The Huskies couldn't overcome the Wildcat's tough defense, ultimately losing by 4 for a final of 76-72.

Arizona didn't make a basket over the final 6 1/2 minutes against UConn, but hit enough free throws to hold off the Huskies.

Brandon Randolph scored 20 points and Chase Jeter added 14 as Arizona won its first true road game of the season, 76-72 on Sunday in front of more than 14,600 fans in Hartford.

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Huskies comment on win 00:01:19
UConn head coach Geno Auriemma and Napheesa Collier talk about the Huskies' rout of DePaul and their upcoming showdown at Notre Dame.

UConn forward Napheesa Collier continued her hot play on Wednesday, finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a 99-63 rout of DePaul. 

Collier and head coach Geno Auriemma reacted to the victory as a Final Four rematch with Notre Dame looms next. 

Tags: Napheesa Collier
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UConn dominates DePaul 00:01:27
Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier combined for 47 points as UConn routed DePaul, 99-63 on Wednesday evening.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Napheesa Collier scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as No. 2 UConn passed its first test of the season against a ranked opponent by routing No. 16 DePaul 99-63 on Wednesday night.

Katie Lou Samuelson added 23 points for the Huskies (6-0), who have a showdown Sunday at top-ranked Notre Dame.

Any questions about whether UConn would overlook the Blue Demons were answered in the opening 10 minutes.  >> Read more

Copyright 2018 by the Associated Press

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Hurley on Gilbert's development 00:00:41
Dan Hurley and Alterique Gilbert talk about a 97-75 win for UConn over UMass-Lowell on Tuesday, as Gilbert continues to grow on the court.

UConn improved to 6-1 on Tuesday in a 97-75 win over UMass-Lowell and a large part of it was due to the play of sophomore guard Alterique Gilbert.

Gilbert finished with 15 points, six assists and four rebounds in the victory. 

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UConn wins, 97-75 00:01:46
Christian Vital and Jalen Adams lead UConn to a 97-75 win over UMass-Lowell, as the Huskies improve to 6-1 on the season.

STORRS, Conn. (AP) Jalen Adams and Christian Vital each scored 19 points and UConn beat UMass Lowell 97-75 on Tuesday night.

Alterique Gilbert and Josh Carlton added 15 points each for the Huskies (6-1), who won their third straight, all home wins over mid-major opponents.

Obadiah Noel had 20 points for UMass Lowell, which cut a 23-point Husky lead to 10 by halftime, but could get no closer.

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Jan 18, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma talks with guard Mikayla Coombs (4) from the sideline as they take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the first half at Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Jan 18, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma talks with guard Mikayla Coombs (4) from the sideline as they take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the first half at Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) Katie Lou Samuelson tied her season high with 22 points, and No. 2 UConn rolled to an 86-40 victory over Purdue on Saturday night in the Paradise Jam tournament.

Napheesa Collier had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Christyn Williams added 17 for the Huskies (5-0), who extended their regular-season winning streak to 120 games.

Dominique Oden and Kayana Traylor scored 12 points each for the Boilermakers (5-2), who shot 24.6 percent (16 of 65) in suffering their worst defeat on a neutral court since a 44-point loss to Louisiana Tech on March 22, 1990. >> Read more

Copyright 2018 by the Associated Press

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Nov 24, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; Temple Owls running back Ryquell Armstead (7) runs the ball against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 24, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; Temple Owls running back Ryquell Armstead (7) runs the ball against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Receiver Isaiah Wright scored on a run and a kickoff return as Temple routed UConn 57-7 on Saturday and the Huskies finished the season with several records for defensive futility.

The Owls (8-4, 7-1 American), who started the year 0-2, finished the regular season with three straight wins and victories in six of their final seven games.

It took Temple just two minutes to go 71 yards for the first score of the game, an 18-yard run from Wright on an option play. After UConn tied the game at 7 a few minutes later, Wright took the kickoff at the 1-yard-line, and went 99 yards straight up the middle of the field for a touchdown.

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Hurley and Vital talk big win 00:00:41
Dan Hurley and Christian Vital talk about a 91-66 win for the UConn Huskies over New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon

UConn had plenty of reason to feel good on Saturday as it cruised all the way to a 91-66 victory over the University of New Hampshire to improve to 5-1. 

Head coach Dan Hurley and guard Christian Vital -- who recorded a double-double in the victory -- spoke with SNY following the game. 

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UConn routs New Hampshire, 91-66 00:01:31
Josh Carlton and Jalen Adams scored 17 each as UConn took down New Hampshire 91-66, as the Huskies improved to 5-1 on the season.

The UConn men's basketball earned their fourth win of the season on Tuesday night, as they took down the Cornell Big Red, 91-74, at home.

It was once again G Jalen Adams leading the way with a team-high 21 points over 30 minutes of floor time. Christian Vital was also a big part of the team with 19 points, four rebounds and two assists as well.

Three more Huskies made it into double-digits in the points column, with Tyler Polley (10), Alterique Gilbert (11), and Tarin Smith (12) contributing in the win. >> READ MORE

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Nov 11, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) and teammates react after a basket against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Ohio State 85-53. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 11, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) and teammates react after a basket against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Ohio State 85-53. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) UConn coach Geno Auriemma has warned his players about expecting every game to be a blowout.

That's what the second-ranked Huskies ran into Friday night, having to rally in the fourth quarter against pesky St. John's for a 65-55 victory at the Paradise Jam tournament.

Katie Lou Samuelson scored 19 points, Napheesa Collier added 17 points and Crystal Dangerfield 14 for UConn (4-0), which survived a challenge from the Red Storm to extend their regular-season winning streak to 119 games.

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier
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It's all love after UConn's win 00:00:39
Jalen Adams stopped by Dan Hurley's postgame interview with SNY's Maria Marino after UConn's 91-74 win over Cornell.

Following UConn's victory on Tuesday night, Dan Hurley was being interviewed -- and Jalen Adams joined in by photobombing him in the process. 

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UConn tops Cornell, 91-74 00:02:12
Jalen Adams led the Huskies to a 91-74 win against Cornell. Dan Hurley's squad had a rough start but finished strong.

The UConn men's basketball earned their fourth win of the season on Tuesday night, as they took down the Cornell Big Red, 91-74, at home.

It was once again G Jalen Adams leading the way with a team-high 21 points over 30 minutes of floor time. Christian Vital was also a big part of the team with 19 points, four rebounds and two assists as well.

Three more Huskies made it into double-digits in the points column, with Tyler Polley (10), Alterique Gilbert (11), and Tarin Smith (12) contributing in the win.

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Nov 17, 2018; Greenville, NC, USA; East Carolina Pirates wide receiver Tyler Snead (22) scores on a first half touchdown catch against Connecticut Huskies at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports  (James Guillory)
Nov 17, 2018; Greenville, NC, USA; East Carolina Pirates wide receiver Tyler Snead (22) scores on a first half touchdown catch against Connecticut Huskies at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

UConn scored 21 points in the first two quarters, but were blanked from that point forward as East Carolina rolled to a 55-22 win on Saturday night.

Uconn quarterback David PIndell completed 15 of 25 passes for 156 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception in the loss.

Kevin Mensah totaled 88 yards rushing while Tyler Davis hauled in four catches for 66 yards and a pair of touhdowns. Hergy Mayala grabbed six passes for 35 yards and a touchdown.

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Huskies drub Vandy 00:01:12
UConn head coach Geno Auriemma and forward Napheesa Collier comment on UConn's rout of Vanderbilt, 80-42

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma and forward Napheesa Collier discussed the team's 80-42 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday night. 

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UConn dominates Vandy 00:01:26
Crystal Dangerfield had 19 points to lead the way as UConn routed Vanderbilt, 80-42 at Mohegan Sun Arena

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) Crystal Dangerfield scored 19 points and Napheesa Collier added 15 points and 16 rebounds to help No. 2 UConn rout Vanderbilt 80-42 on Saturday night in the Hall of Fame Showcase.

Katie Lou Samuelson added 15 points while Megan Walker had 14 for the Huskies (2-0).

Tags: Napheesa Collier
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Geno talks new UConn challenges 00:01:42
UConn coach Geno Auriemma talks about the unique challenges facing his team, as they try to rebound from last year's loss in the Final Four.

Geno Auriemma and the No. 2 ranked UConn women Huskies kick off their 2018-19 regular season play against Vanderbilt on Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at 6 p.m.

UConn played an exhibition game against Ohio State last Sunday, where they dominated to the tune of a 85-53 victory. This is the usual result for the Huskies, as they are normally the favorite in any game they play. 

However, the Huskies still have that crushing loss in the National Championship game against Notre Dame just months ago still in the back of their heads. Auriemma noted that last season was one of the hardest years coaching over his extensive career, and he's looking to change that this season. 

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Nov 16, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jalen Adams (4) drives to the basket against Iowa Hawkeyes guard Maishe Dailey (1) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 16, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jalen Adams (4) drives to the basket against Iowa Hawkeyes guard Maishe Dailey (1) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jalen Adams stood in front of his teammates in the UConn locker room at Madison Square Garden Thursday night and was presented with a military coin by Kevin McMahon, a Wounded Warrior with four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan under his belt.

Adams had just gone for 16 points, 7 boards and 4 assists as UConn beat former Big East rival Syracuse in the semifinals of the 2K Empire Classic.

"To be able to have the honor to present him with the Wounded Warrior coin on behalf of this tournament, the young man earned it," McMahon, who has been embedded with UConn through their first four games this season, told SNY.tv.

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Rough night for Hurley and UConn 00:00:46
It was a tough night for the UConn men at MSG, as coach Dan Hurley was ejected, and the Huskies fell to Iowa, 91-72.

NEW YORK (AP) Luka Garza scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half, and Iowa beat Connecticut 91-72 in the 2K Classic championship game on Friday night.

Garza was named MVP of the tournament. He also joined Tyler Cook, UConn's Eric Cobb, Oregon's Bol Bol and Syracuse's Jalen Carey on the all-tournament team.

Iowa improved to 3-1 all-time against UConn.

Tags: University of Iowa
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Geno talks new UConn challenges 00:01:42
UConn coach Geno Auriemma talks about the unique challenges facing his team, as they try to rebound from last year's loss in the Final Four.

Geno Auriemma still has a sour taste in his mouth from last season. 

The UConn women's head coach is determined to have his team bounce back from last season's Final Four ouster to Notre Dame.

Auriemma enters his 34th season as UConn's head coach and discusses his title aspirations and learning from last year's finish as the Huskies prepare for Vanderbilt in the Hall of Fame Showcase Game at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. on Saturday. 

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Nov 15, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jalen Adams (4) controls the ball against Syracuse Orange guard Tyus Battle (25) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 15, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jalen Adams (4) controls the ball against Syracuse Orange guard Tyus Battle (25) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Nothing less than the first major test Dan Hurley Era awaited the Connecticut Huskies.

UConn was facing a Top 25 opponent in a nationally televised game in one of basketball's iconic venues.

For a group that has not been together for a full calendar year, it was fair to question how they would respond. Consider the test passed. With flying colors.

"They had a look the last couple days that they couldn't get here and play. They went out and performed at such a high level," Hurley said after Connecticut's 83-76 upset of No. 15 Syracuse in the first game of the 2K Classic Thursday night.

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UConn head coach Dan Hurley (right) with Kevin McMahon. (Courtesy UConn Basketball)
UConn head coach Dan Hurley (right) with Kevin McMahon. (Courtesy UConn Basketball)

NEW YORK -- Dan Hurley was nervous and stressed as he awaited his first game as head coach of the UConn men's basketball team in a sold-out environment against Morehead State last Thursday night at Gampel Pavilion. Everything from the game to recruiting concerns to facilities improvement was swirling through his head in the moments before tip-off.

In the locker room, Hurley made a point of coming over and introducing himself to Kevin McMahon, a Wounded Warrior who spent four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and was serving as the honorary UConn team captain for the opener. Kevin was there was his son Sean, a 2016 UConn graduate. Their interaction before the game helped Hurley put all his basketball concerns into perspective.

"The first game, where I'm a little bit nervous about coaching my first game at UConn, I got a chance to take my mind off it by speaking to [Kevin] about his military service," Hurley said this week by phone. "And so it was pretty cool, just getting a break [from] worrying about 2-3 zones and out-of-bounds plays [by] talking to an American hero. It was pretty cool."

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UConn beats UMKC, 94-66 00:00:43
UConn moved to 2-0 under Dan Hurley, as Tarin Smith scored 22 points to lead the Huskies over UMKC on Sunday at Gampel Pavilion.

Tarin Smith scored 22 points to lead UConn over Missouri-Kansas City 94-66 Sunday at Gampel Pavilion.

The fifth-year senior guard shot 10 for 12 from the field to lead the Huskies (2-0). Smith transferred to UConn from Duquesne, where he was the Atlantic-10 Sixth Man of the Year last season.

Jalen Adams had 20 points, Alterique Gilbert 12 and Christian Vital added 10 rebounds. The last time UConn scored at least 90 points in a game was Feb. 8, 2017 when it beat South Florida 97-51.

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Nov 11, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) and teammates react after a basket against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Ohio State 85-53. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 11, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) and teammates react after a basket against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Ohio State 85-53. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) Katie Lou Samuelson scored 19 points and No. 2 UConn opened its quest for a 12th national title on Sunday with an 85-53 rout of Ohio State.

Crystal Dangerfield had 18 points, Napheesa Collier added 17 and Megan Walker chipped in with 15 as the Huskies won their season opener for the 23rd straight year.

Carly Santoro had 20 points for Ohio State (1-2), which had to replace all five starters and its top six scorers from last season's Big Ten championship team.

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Nov 10, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies running back Kevin Mensah (34) runs the ball for a touchdown against Southern Methodist Mustangs safety Elijah McQueen (6) in the second half at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. SMU defeated UConn 62-50. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 10, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies running back Kevin Mensah (34) runs the ball for a touchdown against Southern Methodist Mustangs safety Elijah McQueen (6) in the second half at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. SMU defeated UConn 62-50. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Ke'Mon Freeman and Xavier Jones each ran for more than 100 yards and combined for five touchdowns as SMU climbed within a win of bowl eligibility by outscoring UConn 62-50 on Saturday.

Ben Hicks threw for 276 yards and a score for the Mustangs (5-5, 4-2 American), who are at .500 for the first time this season.

UConn quarterback David Pindell threw for 215 yards and four touchdowns ran for 181 yards and two others. He becomes first Husky quarterback to ever to rush for 1,000 in a season and the first UConn player to do it since tailback Lyle McCombs in 2011. >> Read More

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UConn beats Morehead State 00:00:57
In their first game under new head coach Dan Hurley, the UConn started their new era by taking down Morehead State, 80-70

STORRS, Conn. (AP) Dan Hurley had a successful coaching debut at UConn Thursday as his Huskies opened their season with an 80-70 win over Morehead State.

Josh Carlton scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Jalen Adams scored 16 points and Alterique Gilbert added 15 for the Huskies, who led by just four points at halftime.

Lamontray Harris had 16 points and Malek Green 14 for Morehead State.

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Dan Hurley on UConn expectations 00:01:31
New UConn head coach Dan Hurley shares his expectations for his first season coaching the storied program, admitting some challenges ahead

New UConn coach Dan Hurley shares his expectations for the men's basketball team this season with SNY during a sit-down interview.

"Our season is going to come down to whether these guys will adopt the defensive mentality that I'm preaching every day," Hurley said. 

On Thursday, watch the UConn Men's Basketball Preview at 6:30 p.m., followed by the season opener against Morehead State at 7 p.m. and then UConn Basketball Post Game.

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Oct 27, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; Massachusetts Minutemen tight end Kyle Horn (85) runs the ball against the Connecticut Huskies in the second half at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. UMass defeated UConn 22-17. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Oct 27, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; Massachusetts Minutemen tight end Kyle Horn (85) runs the ball against the Connecticut Huskies in the second half at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. UMass defeated UConn 22-17. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

UConn watched their slim lead evaporate in the second quarter and wound up losing by 30 points in a 49-19 mess on Saturday night. 

UConn's defense prevented any touchdowns in the first quarter and the team held a 13-7 advantage in the second quarter, but then Tulsa scored seven touhdowns in seven drives and ran away with the win.

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Oct 27, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies quarterback David Pindell (5) runs the ball against the Massachusetts Minutemen in the second half at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. UMass defeated UConn 22-17. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Oct 27, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies quarterback David Pindell (5) runs the ball against the Massachusetts Minutemen in the second half at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. UMass defeated UConn 22-17. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Marquis Young rushed for 148 yards including a fourth-quarter touchdown that gave UMass a 22-17 win over UConn on Saturday.

Young got an assist from teammates who helped shove him into the end zone from 3 yards out to take the lead with 3:39 remaining. On UConn's next play from scrimmage, Lee Moses intercepted David Pindell's pass near midfield and the Minutemen (3-5) were able to run out the clock to snap a three-game losing streak.

Young, who carried the ball 26 times, turned in his 12th career 100-yard rushing game. Ross Comis, starting in place of injured Andrew Ford, threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

 

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Oct 20, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls running back Johnny Ford (20) gets past Connecticut Huskies linebacker Anthony Repollet (46) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Oct 20, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls running back Johnny Ford (20) gets past Connecticut Huskies linebacker Anthony Repollet (46) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Johnny Ford rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns to help No. 21 South Florida shrug off a slow start to remain unbeaten with a 38-30 victory over Connecticut on Saturday night.

Ford scored on runs of 15, 15 and 43 yards. He also set up a second-half field goal with a 78-yard burst, helping the Bulls (7-0, 3-0 American Athletic) pull away from a 7-7 halftime tie and match the best start in school history.

 

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Oct 6, 2018; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Tigers tight end Joey Magnifico (86) carries the ball against Connecticut Huskies defensive back Ian Swenson (44) during the first half at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports (Justin Ford)
Oct 6, 2018; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Tigers tight end Joey Magnifico (86) carries the ball against Connecticut Huskies defensive back Ian Swenson (44) during the first half at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports (Justin Ford)

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell preached to his team as they suffered through a four-win season a year ago that things would get better if they put in the work and believed in each other.

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Connecticut Huskies logo prior Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)
Connecticut Huskies logo prior Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)

The University of Connecticut and Tennessee women's basketball teams have had little in common the last decade.

They went their separate ways as far as scheduling in 2007, though they will renew their rivalry in January 2020. Over the last 10 seasons, the Huskies have been to all 10 NCAA Final Fours and won six national championships, passing the Lady Vols for the all-time lead in titles (11-8) and national semifinal berths (19-18), while Tennessee has not been past the Elite Eight since winning it all in 2008. The programs actually have not recruited many of the same players over the past decade.

Jordan Horston is an exception. The 6-foot guard from Columbus, Ohio, is the No. 2-rated player in the Class of 2019 by ESPNHoopgurlz and was the Most Valuable Player of the 2018 FIBA U-17 World Cup in July. UConn and Tennessee were among seven on schools on her list.

Score one for the Lady Vols.

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Sep 12, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (30) dribbles the ball against the Washington Mystics during the first quarter in game three of the WNBA Finals at Eagle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Sep 12, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (30) dribbles the ball against the Washington Mystics during the first quarter in game three of the WNBA Finals at Eagle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Breanna Stewart isn't just sitting on top of the basketball world, she is standing tall, all 6-foot-4 of her.

Yet the former University of Connecticut standout and the reigning WNBA Most Valuable Player remains committed to her mantra, humble and hungry, even after adding a second FIBA World Cup gold medal to her resume.

"It's just knowing that I can always get better," Stewart said Sunday. "Obviously I have won a lot, but my individual play can be better. That is what's exciting for me, knowing that I have been successful but knowing there's a lot I can improve on, too."

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Sep 29, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats running back Michael Warren II (3) runs the ball against Connecticut Huskies defensive back Tyler Coyle (25) in the second quarter at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Sep 29, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats running back Michael Warren II (3) runs the ball against Connecticut Huskies defensive back Tyler Coyle (25) in the second quarter at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder kept the Bearcats undefeated, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns and running for another score in a 49-7 rout of UConn on Saturday.

Michael Warren II rushed for 106 yards and touchdowns of 2 and 14 yards for the Bearcats (5-0, 1-0 American Athletic).

Cincinnati found the end zone on seven of its first nine possessions. The Bearcats went 74 and 88 yards the first two times they had the ball and got to the UConn 10-yard line on their third trip before a fumbled handoff.

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Connecticut Huskies logo prior Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)
Connecticut Huskies logo prior Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)

Aubrey Griffin's dream has come true.

Griffin, a 6-foot senior guard/forward from Ossining, New York, made a verbal commitment to the University of Connecticut and women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma on Thursday, choosing the Huskies over Louisville.

"I just fell in love with it," Griffin said. "It's always been my dream school and I'm so happy. It's a great program and I'll be close to my family. I made a good connection with the coaches and the players. Once I left Sunday, I just had a really good feeling about it.

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Sep 22, 2018; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Sean Riley (10) makes a touchdown catch in front of Connecticut Huskies defensive back Jordan Morrison (29) during the fourth quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports (Mark Konezny)
Sep 22, 2018; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Sean Riley (10) makes a touchdown catch in front of Connecticut Huskies defensive back Jordan Morrison (29) during the fourth quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports (Mark Konezny)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Eric Dungey scored three touchdowns and threw for another to key a first-half blitz and Syracuse continued its early season success with a 51-21 victory over former Big East rival Connecticut on Saturday.

Syracuse, which has not yet trailed this season, has won its first four games for the first time since 1991 and only the fourth time since the end of World War II. The Orange finished 4-8 in each of the past three seasons. >> Read more

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Morgan Tuck (45) Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Morgan Tuck (45) Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Morgan Tuck was a fixture on USA Basketball's youth teams while in high school and in her first year at the University of Connecticut. It was then she set a goal -- to someday play for the United States Olympic Team.

But knee injuries with the Huskies and at the start of her career with the WNBA's Connecticut Sun had her wondering if she'd ever had a chance. She had also seen contemporaries like USA and UConn teammate Breanna Stewart emerge to stardom.

Even with her issues, though, she was named to the 2017-20 national team pool a year ago and her first healthy season with the Sun followed. Following two weeks of camp, the 24-year-old was named Wednesday to her first senior national team that will take part in the FIBA World Cup starting Saturday in Tenerife, Spain.

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Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma speaks during a press conference before a regional semifinal game against Duke in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament Friday, March 23, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma speaks during a press conference before a regional semifinal game against Duke in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament Friday, March 23, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Aubrey Griffin admits that the University of Connecticut is her dream school to continue her basketball and academic careers.

But reality is that she wants to be sure the biggest decision for her to date is the right one. That's why the 6-foot senior guard/forward from Ossining, New York, plans on taking four official visits - including this weekend's trip to Storrs - before making her call.

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Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma speaks during a press conference before a regional semifinal game against Duke in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament Friday, March 23, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma speaks during a press conference before a regional semifinal game against Duke in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament Friday, March 23, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's 2018-19 schedule -- featuring 14 non-league games and 16 American Athletic Conference contests -- is out.

The Huskies, who will return three starters from last season's 36-1 club that advanced to the NCAA Final Four for a record 11th consecutive year, will face nine teams that played in the NCAA tournament, including national champion Notre Dame, Final Four participant Louisville, Elite Eight representative and 2017 national champion South Carolina, and AAC rival South Florida.

Six games will be played at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs with five -- including South Carolina -- being played at the XL Center in Hartford. Vanderbilt will face UConn at Mohegan Sun Arena.

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 (Mandatory Credit: USA Basketball)
(Mandatory Credit: USA Basketball)

Over the last five years, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team has sent as many players to the WNBA (11) as it has on its current roster. Ten were first-round selections, with Saniya Chong spending a little more than a season with the Dallas Wings after being chosen in the third round in 2017.

The Huskies figure to add to that total next April when senior All-Americans Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier head to the next level.

Coach Geno Auriemma and associate head coach Chris Dailey have been able to keep UConn among the elite for a quarter-century. The Huskies own six of the last 10 national championships (11 total) and have made 11 consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances to take the all-time lead with 19. No one else has made more than five straight trips to the national semifinals.

But are those graduation losses finally going to add up? The feeling is that Auriemma must a bring in a strong recruiting class this fall if the Huskies are to stay a threat on the national stage heading into the next decade.

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 (David Butler II )
(David Butler II )

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) David Pindell threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 137 yards and two more as UConn outscored Rhode Island 56-49 on Saturday.

Pindell outdueled Rhode Island quarterback JuJuan Lawson, who threw for 351 yards and four scores and ran for 85 yards and two TDs for the Rams.

The teams combined for 1,123 yards of offense.

The Huskies (1-2), who had three touchdowns in their first two games, got into the end zone on all six of their drives in the first half, including a 74-yard strike from Pindell to freshman Heron Maurisseau who found himself wide open in the middle of the field for his first collegiate score. They led 42-28 at the break.

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Sep 12, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (30) poses with MVP and Championship trophy after defeating the Washington Mystics after the game in game three of the WNBA Finals at Eagle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Sep 12, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (30) poses with MVP and Championship trophy after defeating the Washington Mystics after the game in game three of the WNBA Finals at Eagle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Winning basketball teams, as the saying goes, have had a way of following Breanna Stewart around. They've done so from her high school days at Cicero-North Syracuse High in New York, to the University of Connecticut, out to Seattle with the WNBA's Storm, and in between with USA Basketball.

The former Huskies' great added to her resume Wednesday night when she and the Storm finished off a three-game sweep of the Washington Mystics in the WNBA Finals with a 98-82 road victory.

The triumph made Stewart the 11th player to win NCAA and WNBA titles and Olympic and FIBA world championship gold medals. The 6-foot-4 forward won four national championships at UConn, Olympic gold in 2016, and world championship gold in 2014 -- all on teams coached by Geno Auriemma.

The WNBA crown came in the Storm's first season under veteran Dan Hughes.

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Sep 10, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Detail view of logo on court before an international exhibition basketball game game between the United States and Japan at the Charles E. Smith Center at George Washington University. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Sep 10, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Detail view of logo on court before an international exhibition basketball game game between the United States and Japan at the Charles E. Smith Center at George Washington University. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Jennifer Rizzotti was right at home when the United States women's national team hosted Japan at George Washington University's Charles E. Smith Center Monday night. The Team USA assistant coach is about to start her third season as George Washington's head coach.

But her real homecoming was Saturday when Team USA traveled to Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena. The New Fairfield native was back in the state where she made a name for herself as a player at the University of Connecticut and as a coach at the University of Hartford.

"Do I miss Connecticut? Yes, of course, I miss Connecticut," Rizzotti said. "I miss not only my family, but Connecticut was always my family, the people here. It's good to be back and hear them cheering in the crowd for us. The people here will always have a special place in my heart."

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Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (Matt Eisenberg)
Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (Matt Eisenberg)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Sue Bird set the WNBA mark for games played on Sunday and will play in a record 11th WNBA All-Star Game this Saturday in Minneapolis. With every assist, the Seattle Storm point guard adds to her all-time league-leading total. 

This fall, she'll likely look to collect a fifth FIBA world championship medal with the United States national team. She is already to only player with four (three gold, one bronze).

But the former University of Connecticut star didn't accomplish all this via her work over the last week or month. Bird's commitment to take care of herself and her body has been going on for years. It has allowed her, two months shy of her 38th birthday, to be playing some of the best basketball in a career that will include her induction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame once she is eligible.

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