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Kurt Benkert passed for a school-record breaking 455 yards and Virginia avenged a heartbreak loss last season with a 38-18 victory over Connecticut on Saturday.
Virginia came in a rare double-digit favorite and the Cavaliers (2-1) jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead and never looked back. Benkert, a fifth-year senior, broke his own passing record of 421 yards set last season against Central Michigan with a 73-yard touchdown pass to Andre Levrone in the middle of the fourth quarter. Levrone finished with a career-high 127 yards on four catches.
The Huskies offense struggled to keep pace with the constant pressure of the Virginia front early. UConn (1-1) went 1 of 4 on red zone possessions - including two turnovers and a turnover-on-downs.
Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall felt better about his team's performance in a loss to Indiana after watching film of the game, and he's anticipating the improvement will only become more obvious going forward.
The Cavaliers (1-1) finish a three-game homestand to start the season Saturday against Connecticut (1-0).
Mendenhall said he saw more consistency from the offense and defense in the 34-17 loss . And although generally steady quarterback Kurt Benkert had an uneven outing, he's generally more accurate when throwing downfield than he was against the Hoosiers.
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...
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."
UConn football's matchup against the University of South Florida on Saturday has been cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, the two schools announced.
"I know both our team and USF were excited about a chance to play this weekend," UConn head coach Randy Edsall said. "We certainly are disappointed, but clearly understand that this is something totally out of everyone's control. I hope that Coach Strong, his team and the entire community impacted by this storm remain safe and know that we are thinking about them as they deal with this."
The game was scheduled to take place at Rentschler Field in Connecticut. The University of South Florida System shut down its campuses from Thursday until at least the end of the weekend.
UConn defeated Holy Cross in their season opener, 27-20. They will return to action on Sept. 16 when they face Virginia.
There are very few things that Geno Auriemma has not done in basketball since becoming the women's coach at the University of Connecticut in 1985.
One thing will be taken off that list Friday night.
Auriemma will serve as a presenter for the first time when the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame holds its Class of 2017 enshrinement ceremony at Springfield (Massachusetts) Symphony Hall. And he'll be doing it twice. He'll be the sole presenter for Rebecca Lobo, who played for him at UConn (1991-95), and join former Boston Celtics star John Havlicek and former UCLA standout Ann Meyers-Drysdale as presenters for former NCAA vice president Tom Jernstedt.
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.
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...
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Fifth-year senior Bryant Shirreffs came off the bench to lead UConn on three second-half scoring drives and the Huskies came from behind to beat Holy Cross 27-20 on Thursday night in Randy Edsall's return as head coach.
Sophomore running back Nate Hopkins ran for 130 yards and three touchdowns in his UConn debut and receiver Hergy Mayala caught nine balls for 106 yards and a score.
Peter Pujals threw for 358 yards and a touchdown for Holy Cross, from the Football Championship Subdivision, which led 20-7 late in the third quarter.
UConn football will kick off their season when they face Holy Cross tonight at Rentschler Field in East Hartford on SNY at 7:30 p.m.
The Huskies went 3-9 last season, while Holy Cross went 4-7.
The two teams have not faced one another since 1985.
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.
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.
A different opponent, but the same result for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team on its tour of Italy.
Junior All-American Katie Lou Samuelson stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting, five rebounds, five assists and three steals as the Huskies routed the Italian All-Stars 103-45 in an exhibition game in Vicenza.
UConn is 3-0 on its trip, which started with a two-game sweep of the Netherlands national team in Rome. The Huskies conclude the basketball playing portion of the journey Sunday against Celje of Slovenia in Trieste.
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.
SNY's Huskies All-Access team is on site in Italy with the UConn Women's basketball team as they start their preparation for the upcoming season.
Here are some behind the scene moments:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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...
STORRS, Conn. -- Batouly Camara can't wait for November and the beginning of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's season.
In a way, the redshirt sophomore forward doesn't have to. The Huskies will head to Italy on Saturday for an 11-day tour that will take them to Rome, Florence, Trieste and Venice and include four exhibition games.
"It's like we're getting a head start," Camara said after Monday's workout at the Werth Champions Center. "Going there, being able to bond as a team and also play some games, I'm super excited for this trip.
"I want to be able to pick things up quickly and to be efficient. But at this point of the season I want to show to my coaches and teammates that they can trust me. Being reliable is something I've tried to show the team from the start."
UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Diana Taurasi turned 35 years old on June 11. But there also days when she's 25 all over again.
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.
To say Megan Walker has struggled with her 3-point shot at the FIBA U-19 World Cup would be an understatement. The University of Connecticut freshman wing was 1-for-14 from behind the arc in the United States' first five games in the event.
But with Team USA surging late in the second quarter half of its semifinal game with Japan Saturday, Walker delivered a dagger from the corner.
Her trey at the halftime buzzer gave the Americans a 14-point lead and was part of a 21-1 run that carried into the third quarter. Walker finished with 11 points as Team USA advanced to the gold-medal game with a 73-66 win over Japan in Udine, Italy.
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.
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.
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.
If University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma takes time out to watch the WNBA All-Star Game on Saturday, he'll see his own version of a magnificent seven -- of his own players.
Former Huskies Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm and Stefanie Dolson of the Chicago Sky were named as reserves for the Western Conference and Eastern Conference respectively for the All-Star Game to be played at KeyArena in Seattle, giving UConn a record seven graduates in the contest. Last week, five ex-Huskies -- Seattle guard Sue Bird, Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, and Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore for the West, and forward Tina Charles of the New York Liberty and guard Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream for the East -- were named as starters.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- First there was a thunderous block. Then there was a steal followed by another steal and the players and spectators watching Sunday morning's session of the United States national team U-16 trials were buzzing.
All that was missing was a dunk, not that she can't do that.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Paige Bueckers plays basketball with a poise that belies her age.
The 5-foot-10 guard from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has already been part of two state championship games and has been named to the all-state tournament team twice. She is currently involved in USA Basketball's U-16 national team trials at the United States Olympic Training Center here. The final day of her freshman year at Hopkins High is, though she hopes she'll still be here for the U-16 training camp before the 12-player squad heads to Buenos Aries, Argentina, for the FIBA Americas Championships .
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."
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Sam Brunelle -- a member of the Future Business Leaders of America chapter at William Monroe High in Standardsville, Virginia, -- considers this weekend's stay at the United States Olympic Training Center a business trip.
"And we're pushing for the gold," Brunelle said Friday.
"Last year here was a great experience to learn from all the older girls. Coming into this year I'll have more of a leadership role. I have the experience, I know what the trials will be like and what to expect."
The 6-foot-2 forward, considered the top player in the Class of 2019, was the youngest member of the 2016 United States national team that won a bronze medal at the FIBA U-17 world championships in Spain.
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."