BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Entering his 30th season as the coach of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team, Geno Auriemma has a losing record against two schools the Huskies have faced.
One is U.S. International of San Diego, which became Alliant International University, which doesn't have a team now. UConn lost the only meeting 96-88 on Nov. 28, 1986. In his role as the United States national team coach, Auriemma has a constant reminder of the second school he has not beaten.
USA assistant coach Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx played at La Salle (1984-88) and was a graduate assistant when the Explorers came to the Storrs Field House for UConn's first NCAA tournament game in 1989.
"I was on the bench and I remember it well, like it was yesterday," Reeve said. "I remember Kelly Greenberg got hurt, tore her eardrum, near the end of the game. We came back and won.
"I actually go back a little further with Geno. In 1986, UConn came down and played in the La Salle tournament we had. I was a player and we beat them. I let him know about it. Not that many people can say they were on a team that beat Geno's team. But that was before UConn was UConn."
Auriemma is 0-3 against La Salle. The Huskies' last meeting with the Explorers was on Dec. 29, 1989.
In that 1986 game, Reeve had six points, three assists, and four turnovers in La Salle's 65-60 win.
"She reminds me of it all the time," Auriemma said. "Four turnovers? We'll be talking about that."
Reeve is working her first assignment for USA Basketball. After being a Rhodes Scholar nominee at La Salle and beginning her coaching career with the Explorers, she went on to be an assistant at George Washington University and spent five years as the head coach at Indiana State. She then moved to the WNBA as an assistant coach in Charlotte and Cleveland before being hired by Bill Laimbeer in Detroit and she helped the Shock to two WNBA titles. She became the head coach of the Lynx in 2010 and has guided Minnesota to the 2011 and 2013 championships.
Could she have imagined in 1989 after she was on the opposite sideline from Auriemma that 25 years later she would be his assistant on the national team?
"No," Reeve said with a laugh. "Of course, I never thought about a future with USA Basketball then but I'm thrilled it's come about. Over the years I was able to stay in touch with him. I feel lucky to be a part of this."
Americans in ParisTeam USA landed in Paris Wednesday morning local time and held a brief workout (quotes courtesy of USA Basketball).
"We sat around a lot on the bus trip yesterday," Auriemma said. "We sat around a lot on the plane. Then we got here and we were stuck in traffic. So there was a lot that can make you sluggish and stale a little bit. We came out here today to get our legs back, and I thought they were great. Everybody really wanted to move. Lindsay Whalen just said that, 'It was good to get our bodies moving.' And we got some things done. We got a little better as a team, and tomorrow we'll get a couple new guys in, throw them into the mix. We'll get a little better tomorrow and then we'll play Friday."
Team USA will play three exhibition games in three days in Paris starting Friday against Australia. It will then take on China Saturday and host France Sunday.
The players and coaches were to visit the Eiffel Tower later in the day before catching up on some sleep or, for UConn junior Breanna Stewart, some studying.
"I'm keeping up pretty well so far. I'm making sure I get things in by the due date," Stewart said. "I met with my academic advisor in Bridgeport and she helped me stay organized. I think the biggest thing is making myself do the work. There's no one else here making sure I do the work besides me."
Stewart said she's spoken to USA teammate Maya Moore, who was in a similar situation four years ago when she made Team USA during her senior year at UConn.
"The advice Maya has given me is basically making sure you stay on top of it," Stewart said. "Once you get behind, you're always going to be behind in your schoolwork."