STORRS, Conn. -- Jasmine Lister spent her basketball playing days as a point guard so she's accustomed to having to make quick decisions.
This decision, however, would be the biggest of her young coaching career.
Lister was in her office at DePaul, where she was a first-year assistant for coach Doug Bruno, and decided to go watch a players' workout.
"As I left, Coach Bruno called and said, 'I'll be back. But do you know about Marisa getting the BU job? What about you going back to Connecticut?' "
Marisa Moseley, who had spent nine seasons as an assistant at UConn, had accepted the head coaching job at her alma mater Boston University. UConn coach Geno Auriemma had reached out to his long-time friend Bruno about having Lister -- who was a graduate assistant on two national championship teams at UConn -- return to the Huskies to take Moseley's spot.
"Coach Bruno did say that I'd have to make a decision soon since there was a recruiting weekend coming up," Lister said. "Then he told me that it was a huge opportunity for me to be able to work under Coach Auriemma and CD (associate head coach Chris Dailey).
"It was easy to be like, 'Yeah, of course, who wouldn't want to work with the players and staff at UConn?' But I really liked everything at DePaul. I liked learning from Doug. It's special at DePaul. It was difficult leaving the players and people in the program. But I knew leaving was the best thing for me and the right thing for me to do. I was at UConn for two years and I knew what an opportunity it was."
Moseley was introduced at BU on April 18. A day later, the announcement that UConn had hired Lister was made. The next day, Lister was on her way to Virginia to recruit for the Huskies at the Boo Williams Invitational.
Things have slowed down only a little bit since.
"I'm just about settled in, just a few more things for my office," Lister said with a laugh. "But thinking about being a coach here that feeling is surreal sometimes."
Lister, 26, played collegiately at Vanderbilt (2010-14) and was a three-time all-SEC performer while starting all 129 games of her career -- including a 2013 NCAA tournament second-round loss to UConn at Gampel Pavilion. The Corona, California, native came to UConn in 2014 as a graduate assistant and in her two seasons on the staff the Huskies went 76-1 and won the last two of their record four consecutive national championships.
During the summer of 2015, she played in seven games for the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks. In February 2016, she took part in a United States national team training camp at the Werth Champions Center, playing for the scout team against the best in the world competing for spots on the Olympic team.
After receiving her masters degree in sports management from UConn in 2016, she became an assistant to coach Mike Neighbors at Washington and helped the west-coast Huskies to a 29-6 record and a spot in the NCAA Sweet 16 while working with Kelsey Plum, who became the NCAA's all-time leading scorer as a senior and the top pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft.
When Neighbors left for Arkansas, Lister found her way to Chicago to become an assistant to Bruno. In her one season there, the Blue Demons finished 27-8 and shared the Big East regular season title while winning the league tournament crown.
But then Auriemma called.
"It's America so any of my assistants are free to do what they want," Bruno told the Waterbury Republican-American. "But I request of my assistants that they never leave my program for a lateral move to any assistant coaches job. And any assistant job in the country I consider lateral, except in this instance. Before Jas took the job, we talked about how I didn't consider UConn's assistant job as lateral. I told her, 'You started there. If something opens at UConn, obviously I am going to understand that you will need to go take it.'
"I want my assistants at DePaul to get head coaching jobs and not other assistant coaching jobs, but the exception here is Jas Lister and UConn. So it was a no brainer to me when Geno called me to sit down with Jas. If she was my daughter I would tell her to go."
To Bruno, the sky is the limit for Lister.
"Her strength is her total package," he said. "She is smart about the game of basketball, relates with people extremely well and is an effective teacher on the floor. She did an excellent job scouting and an excellent job recruiting.
"One of her best qualities is she is magnificent at handing constructive conflict. You can't be part of an intercollegiate basketball staff without having constructive conflict and disagreements. Some coaches take much needed constructive conflict personally. I thought Jas was exquisite in her maturity of managing any kind of conflict that came up. You can't be a great team or an effective team without good strong, constructive conflict, and she managed that with a real high level of maturity."
Moseley's departure and Lister's hire marks the first change on Auriemma's staff since 2009 when Moseley replaced Jamelle Elliott, who left to become head coach at Cincinnati.
Only two players -- seniors Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson -- were at UConn when Lister was a graduate assistant. Lister is expected to work primarily with the guards here, and that includes freshman Christyn Williams, the 2018 consensus high school Player of the Year.
"I am super-excited for that," Lister said. "Christyn is doing well. The big thing this summer is we want her to get accustomed to the things that we do and how hard the players work at this level and for her to embrace her role. I've only had a few weeks with her and there are no guarantees, but I expect her to do really well."
Lister is not only excited about rejoining the UConn family, she will have part of her own family nearby. Princeton announced last week that Lister's twin sister, Cinnamon, had joined coach Courtney Banghart's staff with the Tigers.
UConn returns three starters -- Collier, Samuelson, and Crystal Dangerfield -- from last season's squad that went 36-1 but saw its bid for a 12th national championship stopped in the Final Four semifinals. It was the second consecutive year the Huskies had seen their season end in heartbreaking fashion. In 2017, Morgan William's shot at the overtime buzzer lifted Mississippi State past UConn 66-64 in the national semifinals in Dallas. Then last March 31, Arike Ogunbowale's jumper with one second left in overtime gave Notre Dame a 91-89 win over the Huskies in Columbus, Ohio.
Lister knows the feeling. DePaul's year ended with a 80-79 second-round loss at Texas A&M on Chennedy Carter's 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left. DePaul led by 15 in the fourth quarter and for all but 1:24.
"It just happened," Lister said. "We couldn't control Chennedy Carter. We got tight. We didn't close it out. At the end it was like that we couldn't believe it happened. But we didn't deserve to win because we didn't do all the things we needed to do to win. That doesn't mean it wasn't tough to take."
Leaving DePaul was tough to do. But the Blue Demons' loss is the Huskies' gain.
"It's the right thing to do," Bruno said. "It's the right job and the right decision."