HARTFORD, Conn. -- Geno Auriemma felt helpless. But the University of Connecticut women's basketball coach felt compelled to be helpful.
Shamoya McKenzie, a 13-year-old eighth grader, was a member of the Mount Vernon (New York) junior varsity girls basketball team with a dream of playing for UConn. While a passenger in a car on New Year's Eve, she was the unintentional target of a drive-by shooting and died after being struck in the head.
"I saw the writeup and the history of who she was and what she wanted to do with her life," Auriemma said Tuesday night following the Huskies' 102-37 win over South Florida at the XL Center. "I pretty much was driving down the road and I called Chris Dailey and I said, 'Here's what we're going to do.' And we did it. That's that."
Auriemma wrote a letter, and another letter honored McKenzie as an honorary member of the UConn team that included, "Once a Husky, Always a Husky." They also sent a No. 30 jersey, which was McKenzie's number.