It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. This episode features host Howard Megdal. It’s been a year where everything – everything – has gone wrong for UConn. Three starters left for the WNBA. Iconic Paige Bueckers, lost for the season with an injury. Azzi Fudd is battling injuries from her own and pretty much every other team member. Geno Auriemma himself, navigating illness and loss, has missed time.
Coach Geno Auriemma talks about dealing with losing players to injuries:
“Never to this extent. And this often and especially comes out of COVID, so the uncertainty and the goals we have for ourselves. If you had been here in June, during the summer school, and you see our training and then later, before Caroline Ducharme actually had surgery and you see those workouts and you look out there and you see Paige Bueckers and Nika Mühl and Azzi Fudd and Caroline and Aubrey Griffin and Dorka Juhász and Aaliyah Edwards.
It just seemed like it was going to be so much fun and there wasn’t anything we could imagine doing that we couldn’t do. So little by little it started to wear off and then you would get something back and then you lose something, then you get something back and then you lose something and it was just a constant punch in the gut, never a finale like with Paige it was finally okay done. With Ice Brady, you know, it was final. It’s done.
But with these other guys it’s touch and go maybe when, how long. And it is so frustrating for the players, for us as coaches and for our team. But mostly for the children who are affected.”
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Geno Auriemma talks about UConn’s schedule and how it doesn’t help with injuries and recovery:
“You know, except when the DePaul game was canceled and rescheduled to the other night. We don’t have two consecutive home games. So we don’t have a chance to come home and recover. We’re home one day, practice , put us on a plane and go somewhere. We just got done with DePaul, now we’re in Tennessee; we came back and got Villanova, the best team in the league besides us. We got Providence at Providence. Then we got South Carolina, right? And then after them, Marquette at Marquette.
So I treat it like an NBA coach. I look up who we are playing and who we have available. Okay, let’s go. Let’s do our thing. We are losing. Where do we eat? And how good the wine will be depending on how we play?”
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