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900 Victories

Blog-LeadWith less than one minute remaining in the game against Cincinnati (L to ) Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart, Kia Nurse and Saniya Chong entertain associate head coach Chris Dailey as they don placards with her and Geno Auriemma’s faces and glasses that signify the milestone the UConn Huskies reached Tuesday night with a 96-36 victory at the XL Center. Auriemma won 900 faster than any coach in Division I history in just his 1,034th game. He also became the first man to win 900 in women’s basketball. And all around him on Tuesday was joy and celebration.

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Oh My.

The defense by UConn and nonexistent shooting by SMU crushed the Mustangs. UConn led 47-9 at the halftime The Huskies then scored the first 27 points over 12:20 to take a 74-9 lead in the second half. Final score: 87-28.

Morgan Tuck spins, defended by SMU forward Stephanie Collins in the 1st half.  Tuck added 5 points.

Morgan Tuck spins, defended by SMU forward Stephanie Collins in the 1st half. Tuck added 5 points.

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UConn Teams Honored at the White House…Again!

The UConn men’s and women’s NCAA Championship basketball teams were honored by President Barack Obama at the White House Monday afternoon in the East Room packed with invited guests and media.  It was the second time since 2004 that both teams were honored for dual championships.

“It is just a remarkable thing what these two programs have accomplished,” Obama said. “The women were a perfect 40-0 and won their games by an average of 34 points. There was not a lot of suspense. Now, I did not pick the men’s team to win. But neither did anybody else, unless they went to UConn. Tell the truth,” he said, raising his hand,  prodding UConn alumni in the crowd to show themselves.

After the 20-minute ceremony, during which UConn players presented Obama with UConn jerseys, and Stefanie Dolson lost her balance and fell of the riser – she was unhurt as she landed on her feet – a few team members and coaches Auriemma and Ollie proceeded to the White House lawn for a press conference.

To read Dom Amore’s story about UConn’s visit, click here.

WASHINGTON, DC 06/09/14 President Barack Obama shares a laugh with Stefanie Dolson (left) after he was presented with UConn jerseys during a ceremony honoring the NCAA Champion UConn men's and women's basketball teams in the East Room at the White House Monday afternoon. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

WASHINGTON, DC 06/09/14 President Barack Obama shares a laugh with Stefanie Dolson (left) after he was presented with UConn jerseys during a ceremony honoring the NCAA Champion UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams in the East Room at the White House Monday afternoon. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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Battle Of The Undefeated

On Monday afternoon UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said “There’s no matchup for Kayla McBride and Jewell Loyd. I don’t think anybody in the country has figured out how to guard those two. And I’m not sure we’re going to be able to guard them either.” Maryland thought they had a plan but Notre Dame dispatched them easily with an 87-61 victory. Now two undefeated teams will compete for the national championship Tuesday night. For Lori Riley’s story on the rivalry click here:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Kayla McBride (21) drives up court as Maryland Terrapins guard Laurin Mincy (1) reaches in for the ball during the first half of the 2014 NCAA Women's Final Four in Nashville, TN., Sunday night. McBride scored 28 points and Notre Dame easily advanced with an 87-61 victory.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Kayla McBride (21) drives up court as Maryland Terrapins guard Laurin Mincy (1) reaches in for the ball during the first half of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Nashville, TN., Sunday night. McBride scored 28 points and Notre Dame easily advanced with an 87-61 victory.

Notre Dame and UConn did not play each other this year and the rivalry has become more intense over the years so Tuesday nights game should be a beauty. For more photos of how the two teams reached the final click here:

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The Road To Perfection

With a decisive 69-54 win over the Texas A&M Aggies in their NCAA Elite 8 game at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in the Lincoln Regional Monday night, the UConn women’s basketball team (38-0) is two games away from a perfect season. A win over Stanford in the national semi-final in Nashville Sunday night would send them to an expected – well, at least hoped for – championship showdown with the only other undefeated team – the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. On the eve of the Huskies pursuit of a record ninth national championship, here is a look back at their Elite 8 victory in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Click here to read John Altavilla’s game story. Click here to read Lori Riley’s preview story on UConn’s semi-final game against Stanford.

LINCOLN, NE 03/28/14 UConn Huskies center Stefanie Dolson (31) (left) does a victory dance as her teammates celebrate as time runs out in the second half of the NCAA Lincoln Regional Championship at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Monday. UConn defeated the Texas A&M Aggies, 69-54, to advance to the Final Four. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

LINCOLN, NE 03/28/14 UConn Huskies center Stefanie Dolson (31) (left) does a victory dance as her teammates celebrate as time runs out in the second half of the NCAA Lincoln Regional Championship at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Monday. UConn defeated the Texas A&M Aggies, 69-54, to advance to the Final Four. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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UConn Women Beat BYU In Sweet 16

The UConn women defeated the BYU Cougars, 70-51, before a packed house at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, in an NCAA Sweet 16 game in the Lincoln Regional. Stefanie Dolson was given the assignment to guard BYU’s 6’7″ center, Jennifer Hamson.  After a tight first half, with eight lead changes and three ties, and UConn only up by one point at the half, the Huskies came out swinging in the second half, pulling away to win it and advance to the Elite 8.  They will play the Texas A&M Aggies as they continue their journey toward the Final Four and a record ninth national championship.  Read John Altavilla’s game story here.

LINCOLN, NE 03/28/14 UConn Huskies forward Breanna Stewart (30) is defended by Brigham Young Cougars forward Morgan Bailey (41) in the first half of an NCAA Sweet Sixteen game at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Saturday.  CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

LINCOLN, NE 03/28/14 UConn Huskies forward Breanna Stewart (30) is defended by Brigham Young Cougars forward Morgan Bailey (41) in the first half of an NCAA Sweet Sixteen game at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Saturday. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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New Conference, Old Champions

After winning 18 Big East titles, the UConn women steamrolled their way through the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship tournament this past weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena with three decisive wins in as many days, going 34-0 on the season. They defeated Cincinnati 72-42, Rutgers 83-57, and Louisville 72-52. To read John Altavilla’s tournament wrap-up, click here. UConn will enter the upcoming NCAA tournament as an undefeated top seed in their pursuit of a ninth national title.

UNCASVILLE 03/10/14  The UConn women pose with the trophy after winning the American Athletic Conference Championship game at the Mohegan Sun Arena Monday. UConn defeated Louisville, 72-52.   CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

UNCASVILLE 03/10/14 The UConn women pose with the trophy after winning the American Athletic Conference Championship game at the Mohegan Sun Arena Monday. UConn defeated Louisville, 72-52. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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UConn Seniors Swan Song

On Saturday, UConn All Americans and fan favorites Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley were honored at Senior Day ceremonies before a packed house at Gampel Pavilion on the Storrs campus. Each player was escorted into the arena by their parents to thunderous applause and cheering by the faithful fans and students.  Hartley, grinning from ear to ear, hoisted her framed jersey as she enjoyed the adulation at the close of her stellar UConn career.  Dolson, ever the cut-up, came out dancing in her inimitable style to the roar of her adoring fans. Then the two got to work: Hartley scored 20 points and Dolson surpassed the 1,000 rebound mark in UConn’s 72-35 trouncing of Rutgers.  They made it look easy, as usual, in their final regular season home game under the dome.  (They will play again in the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament starting the weekend of March 22 at Gampel.)  To read about their final home game, see John Altavilla’s story here.

STORRS 03/01/14 UConn seniors Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson hug after they were honored at Senior Day ceremonies at Gampel Pavilion before their game against Rutgers Saturday. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

STORRS 03/01/14 UConn seniors Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson hug after they were honored at Senior Day ceremonies at Gampel Pavilion before their game against Rutgers Saturday. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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Lady Huskies Destroy SMU Mustangs

On the eve of a forecast winter storm, the University of Connecticut Women’s basketball team created their own weather pattern inside Gampel Pavilion. The winds started suddenly at the tip off, and only picked up speed from there. The total team effort saw five players score in double digits, and led by Stefanie Dolson, they had a combined 14 blocked shots. The game was a college women’s version of this years Super Bowl.

For a better understanding of the game, please read John Altavilla’s game story by clicking here!

University of Connecticut Huskies guard Moriah Jefferson, 4, is fouled on her way to the basket as Southern Methodist University guard Keena Mays, 23, left, and Southern Methodist University guard Korina Baker, 10, try to stop the break away during the first half.

University of Connecticut Huskies guard Moriah Jefferson, 4, is fouled on her way to the basket as Southern Methodist University guard Keena Mays, 23, left, and Southern Methodist University guard Korina Baker, 10, try to stop the break away during the first half.

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UConn Women Take on Temple in Bridgeport

UConn took on the Temple Owls at Webster Bank Arena Saturday afternoon. Bria Hartley led all scorers with 19 points and Kiah Stokes pulled down 18 rebounds. The Huskies improved to 17-0 before heading to Texas for Monday’s game against Baylor.

UConn Women's Hoops vs. Temple–  Bridgeport, CT – 01/11/14  – UConn’s Breanna Stewart battles Temple’s Natasha Thames for a loose ball during the first half of Saturday’s contest at Webster Bank Arena. Photo by BRAD HORRIGAN | bhorrigan@courant.com

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UConn Heats Up A Cold Night

The temperature outside was 5 degrees, but the UConn woman created their own heat early in the game and beat the University of Houston Cougars by a score of 90 to 40. The starters sat for long portions of the game or the score would have been even more lopsided. The game was remarkable in that the women had a total of 17 blocked shots, tying a school record. Read John Altavilla’s game story here.

University of Connecticut Huskies forward Breanna Stewart, 30, blocks the shot of University of Houston Cougars forward Destini Texada, 12,  during the first half.

University of Connecticut Huskies forward Breanna Stewart, 30, blocks the shot of University of Houston Cougars forward Destini Texada, 12, during the first half.

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Huskies Vanquish Knights

The UConn women’s basketball team added another game to the win column when they visited the University of Central Florida Knights at UCF Arena in Orlando, Florida, on New Years Day.  In UConn’s second game playing in the new American Athletic Conference, they moved into the Knight’s house, with a large Husky fan section in tow, and rolled to a 77-49 victory. Stefanie Dolson rang in the new year with a 25 point, 12 rebound performance. Read John Altavilla’s game story here.

ORLANDO, FL 01/01/14 UConn Huskies guard Brianna Banks (13) grabs a loose ball from UCF Knights forward/center Erika Jones (55) in the first half against UCF at UCF Arena Wednesday.  UConn beat the Knights, 77-49. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@couant.com

ORLANDO, FL 01/01/14 UConn Huskies guard Brianna Banks (13) grabs a loose ball from UCF Knights forward/center Erika Jones (55) in the first half against UCF at UCF Arena Wednesday. UConn beat the Knights, 77-49. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@couant.com

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UConn Women Overpower Cal at MSG

Offensively the UConn women started off slowly in the first half of their matchup with California at Madison Square Garden Sunday.  But as the game wore on, the Huskies proved to be far superior to their west coast adversaries.  Breanna Stewart led the way with 29 points (in only 27 minutes) and 10 rebounds.

UConn women's Hoops Versus CalNew York, NY – 12/22/13 – UConn players, left to right: Brianna Banks, Bria Hartley, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson celebrate on the bench after a basket by Tierney Lawlor  (not pictured) against California in the Maggie Dixon Classic Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.  Photo by BRAD HORRIGAN | bhorrigan@courant.com

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UConn Women Dominate Duke 83-61

We all have “Bucket Lists”, mine included Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of the “Cameron Crazies”, which open in 1940 on the West Campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. It has been the site of many memorable basketball games, Tuesday night pitted the #1 UConn Huskies women’s basketball team against #2 ranked Duke. When the dust settled from the wood bleachers one thing was certain, UConn has few teams that can play 40 minutes at their level…

It was #1 UConn against #2 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC, Tuesday evening. At the conclusion of the game it was clear there are few teams that will be able to knock the Huskies from their lofty perch.

It was #1 UConn against #2 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC, Tuesday evening. At the conclusion of the game it was clear there are few teams that will be able to knock the Huskies from their lofty perch.

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A Time For Giving Thanks

Living in an increasingly divided, tumultuous and complicated world, the Thanksgiving holiday offers an opportunity to truly reflect on our personal blessings. For many, the value of these blessings is even more treasured as they reflect on times of struggle. To some, adversity came long ago. Others are in the midst of difficult challenges today. Yet finding genuine reasons to be thankful can help us to persevere. There is a time to focus on our troubles for it helps us to recognize them, confront them and, with luck, overcome them. But our nature also demands time for reflection, which helps us establish our priorities, realize how much we depend upon each other, and remain humble. Here we offer you the stories of a few individuals who have faced challenges in their lives, and their brief reflections on what makes them grateful.

I asked one question “What are you thankful for?”

Giving Thanks

Dan Crowley, Simsbury

On April 9, 1942, U.S. General Edward King surrendered to the Japanese army after a battle on the Philippine peninsula of Bataan. Dan Crowley and a group of other soldiers didn’t obey that order — they fought on. Swimming to the small island of Corregidor, in Manila Bay, Private Crowley somehow dodged the artillery for nearly a month before being forced to surrender. The horrific World War II event that followed is now known as the Bataan Death March. U.S. and Philippine soldiers suffered unspeakable atrocities, and later, Crowley was enslaved 2,000 feet underground in a copper mine until Japan finally surrendered in September of 1945. Through the years, Crowley shared those memories with a fellow P.O.W. and best friend, Harry Johnson, who also survived the experience after being lucky enough to be dug out of a pile of corpses when someone heard him moan. That friendship ended three years ago at the passing of that kindred soul. Over the last year or so, Crowley also lost his wife of sixty-six years to cancer, and has been pre-deceased by his sixty-two-year-old son.

Crowley answers my question about thankfulness and shares his stories with so much passion and perspective.

“I’m thankful to be alive. Thankful that I was somehow chosen to still be alive. All my friends, who I was with in the rotten Japanese slave labor camps are dead,” he says sitting in the drivers seat of his bright red 1997 Mustang Cobra sports car. “I savor life, the Simsbury resident says. “I was in bad shape for a while. No corporation would hire us, when we got home. I went out and sold on my own for straight commission.” Crowley is also grateful for his family, especially his father who he learned so much from, and his wife, who’s parting advice to him was to find a young woman and enjoy life. So what is he doing with the life he is lucky to keep living? “Eat, sleep and make love,” he punctuates with a hearty and sustained laughter.

At 2:00 p.m. on December 7, the state of Connecticut is dedicating a bridge in the Weatogue section of Simsbury the “Bataan Corregidor Memorial Bridge.” Crowley will be communication with the pilots to perfectly time the military fly-over.

“I’m thankful that finally recognition is being given to the memory of the men of Connecticut and throughout the United states,” he says. Crowley has led the effort for years, saying, “his is not about veterans, it’s about those who died in the battle and aftermath as prisoner slave laborers. They must not be forgotten.”

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UConn Women Top Penn State

With only five players seeing over 20 minutes of playing time, and only seven players playing, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team beat Penn State University at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. by a score of 71 to 52.

UConn’s senior guard, Bria Hartley led the way for the Lady Huskies, scoring 29 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, and was just named Player of the Week for the American Athletic Conference.

Please read John Altavilla’s game story by clicking here. John also wrote about a WNBA recruiter who was at the game, see that story by clicking here.

Bria Hartley dries to the basket over Penn State University junior forward/center, Tori Waldner. Hartley led the game in scoring with 29 points.

Bria Hartley dries to the basket over Penn State University junior forward/center, Tori Waldner. Hartley led the game in scoring with 29 points.

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Team of Nine UConn Women Huskies Beat Maryland

With two players injured and unable to play, the number one ranked  University of Connecticut women’s basketball team played eighth ranked University of Maryland Friday night. Junior forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and sophomore forward, Morgan Tuck could only watch from the bench. After a close first half, UConn played tough defense in the second half and won the game by a score of 72 to 55 to retain their number one ranking.

Please Click Here to read John Altavilla’s game story on how the short handed Huskies, held off the Terps.

Please Click Here to read Jeff Jacobs’ column about Moriah Jefferson’s Sweet Moves being the difference.

With two players out due to injuries, each player needed to step up for their game against eight ranked Maryland. Here, UConn's sophomore guard, Moriah Jefferson, 4, shoots as Maryland Terrapins head coach Brenda Frese shouts in her ear  during the first half.

With two players out due to injuries, each player needed to step up for their game against eight ranked Maryland. Here, UConn’s sophomore guard, Moriah Jefferson, 4, shoots as Maryland Terrapins head coach Brenda Frese shouts in her ear during the first half.

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UConn Defeats Stanford 76-57

STORRS — Most times, it happens just once a season. But for some strange reason, the sight of Stanford-UConn doesn’t seem to generate the kind of national excitement it seemingly should.

Then again, sometimes in the midst of a hard-fought game between two elite programs, the fire and joy of what transpires is overshadowed.

Not by disinterest, but by the concern for a young woman injured in its pursuit.

No. 1 UConn beat No. 3 Stanford, 76-57, on Monday at Gampel Pavilion, their first meeting at Geno Auriemma‘s castle in the cow pasture since 1993, when national championships were just a dream for him. For the rest of John Altavilla’s story click here:

Jonathan the Husky Dog unveils the 8th national championship banner before the No.1 UConn women defeated No. 3 Stanford 76-57 at Gampel Pavilion Monday night.

Jonathan the Husky Dog unveils the 8th national championship banner before the No.1 UConn women defeated No. 3 Stanford 76-57 at Gampel Pavilion Monday night.

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Tune-Up For The New Season

The defending national champion UConn women’s basketball team dispatched  Philadelphia University with a lopsided score of 93-28 in a fast-paced exhibition game at the XL Center Tuesday night.  It was the second of two pre-season games in which UConn easily rolled over lesser opponents before the new season gets underway on Saturday when they meet Jen Rizotti’s Hartford Hawks.  No. 3 Stanford rolls into town on Monday.  Read John Altavilla’s game story here.

HARTFORD 11/05/13 UConn's Stefanie Dolson (31) is fouled by Philadelphia's Monica Schacker (23) in the first half in an exhibition game at the XL Center in Hartford Tuesday night.  CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

HARTFORD 11/05/13 UConn’s Stefanie Dolson (31) is fouled by Philadelphia’s Monica Schacker (23) in the first half in an exhibition game at the XL Center in Hartford Tuesday night. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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UConn’s First Night

UConn previewed the 2013-14 basketball season with their annual First Night celebration before a packed house at Gampel Pavilion Friday night. The event included the usual autograph signing, player introductions – with several showing off their dance moves – and a few trivia games for the players and contests for the fans. Then, for the first time, the two teams merged for an inter-squad scrimmage pitting Team Geno, in white, against Team Kevin in blue. Team Geno came from behind to win it, 51-49. To read Jeff Jacob’s column and see more coverage of the event, click here.

STORRS 10/18/13 Members of Team Geno seek crowd support during a trivia game at UConn's First Night festivities.  They are Phil Nolan, Omar Calhoun, Breanna Stewart, Shabazz Napier, Bria Hartley (back to camera), Tor Watts and Niels Giffey (l-r.)  CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

STORRS 10/18/13 Members of Team Geno seek crowd support during a trivia game at UConn’s First Night festivities. They are Phil Nolan, Omar Calhoun, Breanna Stewart, Shabazz Napier, Bria Hartley (back to camera), Tor Watts and Niels Giffey (l-r.) CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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We’re Baaaaack!!!!

For the third time during his tenure as president, Barak Obama welcomed the UConn Women’s basketball team to the White House Wednesday in honor of their eighth national championship.  The team has been a frequent visitor to Washington since winning their first title in 1995, having been honored twice by President Bill Clinton and three times by President George W. Bush.  They stood before a packed East Room crowd of guests and media and presented the POTUS with an autographed basketball and a UConn jersey. Perhaps they should keep a bag packed for next year…

2013.07.31 - Washington, D.C. - President Barack Obama (center) addresses the crowd during a Connecticut Huskies visit to the White House. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

2013.07.31 – Washington, D.C. – President Barack Obama (center) addresses the crowd during a Connecticut Huskies visit to the White House. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

 

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Kara Wolters Big Dream Basketball Camp

Former UConn star basketball player, Kara Wolters, has a problem most basketball camp directors probably wish they had. Many of her coaches/counselors can’t attend Wednesday’s session because they have a prior commitment.

Since some of Wolter’s camp counselors are members of the reigning N.C.A.A. National Women’s Basketball Championship UConn Huskies team, they will be in Washington D.C. to attend a White House reception in their honor hosted by President Barack Obama. Click here to read that story by John Altavilla.

In seven of the fifteen years the Kara Wolters Big Dream Basketball Camp has been running, the UConn Huskies have won the Championship, however, the White House visit has never coincided with the two weeks the camp is held. “I’ve been lucky,” Wolters says after finishing another day of the first session held at Avon High School this week.

However, the campers probably won’t mind, since Wolter’s was able to find star replacements — her former teammates  Rebecca Lobo, and  Carla Berube of the perfect 35-0 team that won the 1995 N.C.A.A. Women’s National Championship. That team went to the White House, for Wolters first trip there, and she made it back there after she was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team in 2000.

The second session of the camp is held at East Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts next week for girls in grades 5 through 10. That session is still accepting campers so click here for more information.

Former UConn basketball player Kara Wolters ends Tuesday's Kara Wolters Dream Big Basketball Camp for girls held at Avon High School, by gathering the girls at center court and doing a really high five.

Former UConn basketball player Kara Wolters ends Tuesday’s Kara Wolters Dream Big Basketball Camp for girls held at Avon High School, by gathering the girls at center court and doing a really high five.

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WNBA All-Star Game Played at Mohegan Sun

The best women’s basketball players in the country were in Connecticut Saturday, a few of which were former UConn women players. Here are a few photos from the game of our favorite players and a few other interesting moments. The west won by a score of 102 to 98.

Tina Charles, of the Connecticut Sun, 31, reacts after missing a shot late in the fourth quarter.

Tina Charles, of the Connecticut Sun, 31, reacts after missing a shot late in the fourth quarter.

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Eighth Wonder

The UConn women won their eighth national championship earlier this month in New Orleans when they crushed rival Notre Dame, 83-65 in the semi-final and rolled over Louisville, 93-60, in the title game. They made it look easy in the Big Easy. They were led by freshman wunderkind Breanna Stewart, affectionately known as “Stewie” who was named the tournament Most Outstanding Player after scoring a total of 52 points over the two games. But the victory was truly a team effort. They were unstoppable.

Covering the Final Four was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. It was a whirlwind of events starting with the Parade of Teams to kick off the weekend. Then the real work began with shooting team practices, press conferences, autograph-signing sessions, locker room scenes, the high school All America game, both semi-final games, more press conferences, and finally the big game.

Here is a sampling of some of my favorite images from the tournament.

UConn's practice and media session; photos of ND as well. Here is  the sked, and UConn is the No. 1 seed in the second game: News Co

Morgan Tuck, Breanna Stewart, Kiah Stokes, and Moriah Jefferson get into the spirit of the Big Easy all dressed up complete with feather boas in the Parade of Teams at Mardi Gras World Friday night where the four teams were introduced to fans.

UConn's practice and media session; photos of ND as well. Here is  the sked, and UConn is the No. 1 seed in the second game: News Co

Stefanie Dolson shoots a layup during an open practice at the New Orleans Arena the day before taking on Notre Dame in a semi-final game.

UConn's practice and media session; photos of ND as well. Here is  the sked, and UConn is the No. 1 seed in the second game: News Co

Associate head coach Chris Dailey sets a light-hearted mood during practice.

UConn's practice and media session; photos of ND as well. Here is  the sked, and UConn is the No. 1 seed in the second game: News Co

Skylar Diggins and the Irish looked relaxed and confident as they posed for a team photo at their open practice the day before the semi-final game.

UConn's practice and media session; photos of ND as well. Here is  the sked, and UConn is the No. 1 seed in the second game: News Co

Back in the locker room after practice, Stefanie Dolson removes an ice pack from her right leg which was healing from a stress fracture.

UConn's practice and media session; photos of ND as well. Here is  the sked, and UConn is the No. 1 seed in the second game: News Co

Breanna Stewart playfully tickles Chris Dailey as she is interviewed in the locker room after practice.

Assuming UConn wins Sunday, this is for presser and locker room stuff on Monday.

Moriah Jefferson reacts to a card delt while playing UNO with Morgan Tuck and Brianna Banks and Heather Buck (off camera), a locker room ritual for the group.

UConn's practice and media session; photos of ND as well. Here is  the sked, and UConn is the No. 1 seed in the second game: News Co

The team holds an autograph session for the legions of loyal fans who made the trip to New Orleans to cheer on their Huskies.

UConn plays notre dame at 8:30, but also get some pix of the first game between Cal and Louisville for Monday coverage assuming UConSkylar Diggins asserts herself against Bria Hartley early in the semi-final game, but UConn’s defense eventually brought the hammer down on Notre Dame’s shooting star, holding her to 10 points.

UC ND

UConn’s Kelly Faris was instrumental in keeping Skylar Diggins away from the ball as the two former high school opponents from Indiana faced off.

UConn plays notre dame at 8:30, but also get some pix of the first game between Cal and Louisville for Monday coverage assuming UCon

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw takes issue with a ref’s call in the second half as UConn pulls away.

UConn plays notre dame at 8:30, but also get some pix of the first game between Cal and Louisville for Monday coverage assuming UCon

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis showed off her considerable skills adding 16 points against the Irish.

UConn plays notre dame at 8:30, but also get some pix of the first game between Cal and Louisville for Monday coverage assuming UCon

Caroline Doty shows why she’s the emotional leader for the Huskies as she leaps for joy as a teammate scores in the second half.

UC ND02

Stefanie Dolson battles Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride for a loose ball.  McBride was the high scorer for the Irish with 16 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Huskies stifling defense.

UConn plays notre dame at 8:30, but also get some pix of the first game between Cal and Louisville for Monday coverage assuming UCon

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma directs his squad as they hold off Notre Dame.

UConn plays notre dame at 8:30, but also get some pix of the first game between Cal and Louisville for Monday coverage assuming UCon

Bria Hartley drives to the hoop as Skylar Diggins defends.  Hartley scored 15 points in the game.

uconn vs. louisville for national title game... Please make sure to get pix afterward if the team poses together. Last game for Fari

UConn fan Liz Manning cheers as the Huskies roll over Notre Dame.

UConn plays notre dame at 8:30, but also get some pix of the first game between Cal and Louisville for Monday coverage assuming UCon

As the clock winds down, Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride and Skylar Diggins can only watch as their 30-game winning streak comes to an end.

UConn plays notre dame at 8:30, but also get some pix of the first game between Cal and Louisville for Monday coverage assuming UConThe Huskies leap into each other’s arms as they celebrate their victory over Notre Dame to advance to the national championship game. They lost to Notre Dame three times during the season.

uconn vs. louisville for national title game... Please make sure to get pix afterward if the team poses together. Last game for Fari

The New Orleans Arena fills up as UConn and Louisville warm up before playing in the national championship.

uconn vs. louisville for national title game... Please make sure to get pix afterward if the team poses together. Last game for Fari

Stefanie Dolson gets a mouthful of fingers from Louisville’s Bria Smith in the first half of the championship game.  Dolson played through pain from a stress fracture throughout the tournament but managed 12 points and 6 rebounds in the game.

NCAA Tournament

The Huskies, feeling the momentum building, celebrate after Breanna Stewart was fouled on a play.

uconn vs. louisville for national title game... Please make sure to get pix afterward if the team poses together. Last game for Fari

Breanna Stewart dominated the game with 23 points and 9 rebounds.

UConn plays notre dame at 8:30, but also get some pix of the first game between Cal and Louisville for Monday coverage assuming UCon

Louisville head coach Jeff Walz gets in Shoni Schimmel’s face as UConn has it’s way with her in the championship game.

uconn vs. louisville for national title game... Please make sure to get pix afterward if the team poses together. Last game for Fari

A highlight of the game came late in the second half when senior Heather Buck stole the ball from a Louisville player and scored on the fast break.

UC LU36The bench erupts into cheers for Heather Buck as she punctuates UConn’s victory with a layup.

uconn vs. louisville for national title game... Please make sure to get pix afterward if the team poses together. Last game for FariMembers of the UConn pep band celebrate as UConn win is imminent.

uconn vs. louisville for national title game... Please make sure to get pix afterward if the team poses together. Last game for Fari Geno Auriemma is waiting with open arms as senior Kelly Faris leaves the game for the final time in a UConn uniform in the final minutes of the championship.

uconn vs. louisville for national title game... Please make sure to get pix afterward if the team poses together. Last game for Fari

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis cuts the last piece of one of the nets after UConn won the national championship.

uconn vs. louisville for national title game... Please make sure to get pix afterward if the team poses together. Last game for Fari

Former UConn greats Maya Moore, Kalana Greene and Mel Thomas watch the celebration from the stands. Heather Buck’s Dad, David, is at left.

NCAA Tournament

The Huskies hoist the championship trophy for the fans to see.

uconn vs. louisville for national title game... Please make sure to get pix afterward if the team poses together. Last game for Fari

The team carries coach Geno Auriemma across the floor after UConn won their eighth national championship, tying Pat Summit’s record at Tennessee.