Oct. 18, 2013
STORRS, Conn. – Team Geno earned a hard fought win after 20 minutes of play, but at the end of the night UConn fans had much to celebrate in an evening full of excitement. The night featured an autograph session with the players, a cheer/dance performance, multiple crowd giveaways, and game-show style contests testing the players’ smarts.
Coach Auriemma and Coach Ollie addressed the capacity crowds just before pregame player introductions. Coach Ollie expressed his excitement that basketball season had finally arrived. He anticipation for a great year ahead, looking forward to seeing the same packed crowds in the stands at each game. Coach Geno followed with some thoughts of his own, promising Husky fans a lot of excitement this season, especially come March.
Team Geno, whose team prevailed in the battle of wits, showed up on the court tonight as well. Geno’s squad threw down 51 points against Coach Ollie’s team to seal the win. Leading the Team Geno charge was Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.) with 11 total points. Napier could hardly miss from three-point range, sinking nine of his baskets from behind the line. Omar Calhoun (Brooklyn, N.Y.) also chipped in for the white team with an additional 10 points. Breanna Stewart (Syracuse, N.Y.) highlighted the women’s effort on Team Geno, contributing 5 points and 3 rebounds.
Coach Ollie’s team fought hard to close the gap in the remaining minutes of play, even sinking a questionable three-pointer just before a Team Geno timeout to take the lead. Despite Geno’s good-natured protestations, the officials decided to allow the points. Rodney Purvis (Raleigh, N.C.) equaled Napier with eleven points of his own while Kentan Facey (Trelawny, Jamaica) finished second on the Team Kevin scoring charts with 10 points. Tyler Olander (Mansfield, Conn.) lead both squads in selfless play, dishing out three assists for Team Kevin.
The men will open their season against Southern Connecticut on October 30th in Gampel. The contest is set for a 7pm start time.
The women begin defending their national championship on November 1st, when they take on Gannon here in Storrs at 7pm.
Quotes from Geno Auriemma:
On why he waited to start practices until this week:
“Well that was my choice. We could have started about 40 days ago but we wanted more time for our guys to recover. We had a lot of players play a lot of basketball over the summer. They are back in really good shape now.”
On playing a game versus Kevin Ollie:
“Well, I think a lot has changed in the world of sports. In college sports it’s not different. You can’t sit back and keep doing the same thing over and over again. I think you need to figure out ways to do things differently and create new events. This is just another event that the marketing people came up with that we thought was a great idea. The kids are very excited about this, I’ll tell you that.”
On what he has seen in practice over the first couple days:
“Tuesday was a typical first day. I think they are in great shape. Thursday was really good. We’ll see tomorrow what we look like but once we get going then I think it’ll start to make a difference. So far, so good.”