Danielle Donehew Leaving AAC To Take Over WBCA

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Danielle Donehew Date:

Danielle Donehew, the associate commissioner of women’s basketball for the former Big East and now the American Athletic Conference since 2009, is leaving to become the executive director of the powerful Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).

Her departure is a huge loss for the AAC women’s basketball operation. Donehew presided over television, scheduling, branding and messaging, and management of the conference championship, which will be held again this season at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

She was also the primary liaison between the conference and member institutions in women’s basketball matters.

Before joining the conference, Donehew had been Executive Vice President of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, where she was involved with all areas of the franchise operations. She also invested seven years in various capacities at the University of Tennessee, most recently as Assistant Athletic Director for Women’s Basketball Operations.

Donehew earned her master’s degree in sports management from Tennessee. Donehew earned her bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering at Georgia Tech, where she was a member of the Yellow Jacket basketball team. Donehew was named an ACC Legend in 2013.

UConn’s Relationship With Bridgeport Could Grow

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, Kia Nurse, UConn men's basketball, UConn women's basketball, USA Basketball, Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard Date:

It’s likely the UConn men and women will return to Webster Bank Arena this season for regular-season games. And the possibility is great that both parties may agree to up the number to four [two for each program] in 2014-15.

“Going forward, I would not be surprised if its more than one,” Geno Auriemma said. “I don’t know the number would be. I’m not speaking for anyone, but there are times when it makes no sense for us to play anywhere by Gampel Pavilion. There are times when it makes great sense to play in Hartford. But there are other times when the fit is perfect and it makes all the sense in the world to play anyplace else other than up there. It works.”

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Sources: USA Hoops In Bridgeport; UConn Women At Mohegan Sun

by Categorized: Mohegan Sun Arena, UConn women's basketball, USA Basketball, Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard Date:

The USA Women’s National Basketball Team, coached by Geno Auriemma, will play a September 15 exhibition game at Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena against Canada.
The announcement will be made at a press conference Monday at the arena. Auriemma is expected to attend.

Canada features UConn freshman guard Kia Nurse. Nurse is expected to the be national team’s point guard.
The game would be played after the United States holds its final domestic training camp at the Naval Academy from Sept. 7-10 and will likely be held in conjunction with at least one other game or scrimmage, which is likely to be held at the University of Delaware. The World Championship starts Sept. 27 in Turkey.


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Auriemma To Tee It Up – For Real

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma Date:

Geno Auriemma has been invited to play for the first time next month in the American Century Championship of celebrity golf, an event that will also feature Charles Barkley, Aaron Rodgers, Steph Curry and Ray Allen. Auriemma is listed at 50-1 odds to win by the Harrah’s/Harveys Lake Tahoe Race & Sports Book.
“There can’t be anyone lower than me,” Auriemma said. “I’m 50-1 with Ray Allen. But if I finished tied with Ray Allen, I will consider it a huge success because he’s not bad for a guy who only plays golf every day.”
As part of its 25th anniversary, other prominent athletes scheduled to compete are John Elway, Ray Romano, Carson Palmer, Steve Spurrier, Jason Kidd, Greg Maddux, Bode Miller, Roger Clemens, Steve Young, Jerry Rice and defending champion Billy Joe Tolliver.
“It ain’t easy being me,” Auriemma joked.

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News And Notes From Geno’s “Fore The Kids” Golf Tournament

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball Date:

Monday was Geno Auriemma’s “Fore the Kids” golf tournament at the Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford. And along with the golfing, UConn brought a number of players along to hang out at the snack shack and say hello to and shoot hoops with the golfers as they passed though.
The program was also nice enough to allow us [the media] to say hello to the players and Geno so we could fill you in as to what’s been going on the nine-time championship program since Nashville.
Morgan Tuck, who is recovering from knee surgery in January, seems very encouraged by her recovery. That is good news for the Huskies who are really going to need her to help Kiah Stokes and Breanna Stewart deal with the post now that Stefanie Dolson is in the WNBA with purple hair.

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Taurasi Plans To Stay Forever Young, Says UConn Fans Need Not Worry

by Categorized: Breanna Stewart, Bria Hartley, Diana Taurasi, UConn women's basketball, USA Basketball Date:

Here’s some very good news about Diana Taurasi. She’s has no plans to shake off the youthful vigor she has for life.
“I don’t think growing up is in the plans for me,” she said Thursday at the Mohegan Sun Arena. “It’s not on my bucket list. I feel somewhat older, but lucky to be 11 years into my career and be on such a great team [in Phoenix]. It’s taken a while for to get back to this point.
“I want to stay in the sport. I don’t know what I would do without basketball. I would have to be involved and I would love to coach. I’d be very open to it, if it was in the right spot. Who knows?
“I never think too far ahead. I try to stay happy in the moment. The key is being around people you like. It’s hard to go into the gym with people you don’t care for. We are a barbeque team. We’ve had more freaking barbeques this season.”

Taurasi, turned 32 Wednesday. She is averaging 18.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.6 assists and had 19 points and six assists in 34 minutes during Thursday’s loss to the Sun.

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Geno Auriemma On WTIC: Traffic, Weather, Opinions

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball, WTIC-AM, XL Center Date:

I just completed a three-hour stint listening to Geno Auriemma’s drive-time debut as a talk show host on WTIC-1080. It’s the first time I’ve ever listened to the show door-to-door, so to speak, and the one thing I will remember is how often the station updated traffic and weather. Good to remember if either topic is on my mind from 3 to 6 p.m.

It seemed like the breaks kind of caught Geno by surprise. Every time he was getting his offense going, the ball was back in Villanova’s hands; and he had to slow down, stop and start again. But that’s show business.

As for the highlights, he was asked about a few topics relating to his team, the nine-time national champion UConn women. He was asked what he felt about Hartford’s decision to build a baseball stadium for a minor-league team when its XL Center needs so much work.

Geno candidly admitted how underwhelmed he is with the lack of many amenities available in the old joint in comparison to the sparking new buildings sprouting up around the nation, saying at one point that you would never guess it was the home-away-from-home of the two current national champions of college basketball. But he has said that before and those who are interested in his point of view about that are already well aware of it.

He was pressed by some callers about his stances on immigration and the second amendment, but he handled it calmly without going all FoxNews or MSNBC on anybody.

And then he ended the three hours with this response to a question about the future of UConn athletics.

“We have already been affected by it [conference realignment]. We used to be a part of the best basketball league that ever existed [the Big East]. Go back two or three years and the Big East provided the best [college] basketball ever played, men and women.

“But football has taken the lead and the big five power conferences want to do their own things, separate from the NCAA, if possible, and have their own rules to do whatever they want, whenever they want and how ever they want. UConn had a choice. We could have moved forward without football and end up where the Big East is now, which I don’t know where that is. Or we could go with football and try to maximize it and create enough interest [in the school] that the [power] conferences might include us.

How do you do that? Well, just winning at football isn’t enough. It’s the interest level [in the program that's important]. How many fans or viewers can you bring to the conference. If [admission] was just based on the success of a universities athletic department, how do you take Rutgers over Connecticut in the Big Ten if it was just about success?

“They tell you its academics, this and that. It’s about nothing but how many people in that area will watch the conference on television and are you [the school] in an area a conference wishes to expand. We had some issues that prevented us from getting into the ACC; there were some things we did back in the day, like suing the conference. We did a lot of dumb things that are still haunting us.

“But the only thing we can do now is this – be the best athletic program we can be, the best university we can be and win the most games we can in every sport while selling out every stadium and venue we have. That will let everyone else in the country know that whether you like us or don’t like us, you are going to have to compete against us. That is the only thing we have control over.”



Ogwumike Sisters Bond To Help Education Of Nigerian Girls

by Categorized: Chiney Ogwumike, Connecticut Sun Date:

Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, the Stanford sisters who became first overall picks in the WNBA draft, are launching a fundraising competition open to middle and high school basketball teams to raise money to support UNICEF programs focusing on girls’ education and empowerment.

The goal is to give one million girls in Nigeria, the heritage of the Ogwumikes, access to quality schooling by providing scholarships for female teachers and establishing safe places for study,

The competition will rewards teams that sign up the most donors. The top prize is a private basketball clinic with the sisters.

Other prizes include autographed jerseys, pictures and the chance to interact with them via Google Hangouts.

To join the Ogwumike’s challenge: www.crowdrise.com/nnekaandchiney

Dolson Says Nothing Special Planned For White House Return

by Categorized: Bria Hartley, Stefanie Dolson, Washington Mystics, WNBA Date:

Catching up with Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley and Kalana Greene on Wednesday after the Washington Mystics practiced in Uncasville made for a nice hour. They all look good, feel good and are excited about Thursday’s game at the casino against the Connecticut Sun.

“Just walking through airport [Bradley International] it felt nice to be back,” Dolson said. “Seeing all the fans again is going to be fun.”

Hartley agreed.

“I was saying to Stefanie that this feels like home,” Hartley said. “Maybe not being at Mohegan, although we did play here last year [the American Athletic Conference tournament]. But just Connecticut, in general. We hope the Connecticut fans we have here will show us a little bit of love [Thursday].”

Dolson and Hartley said most of their former UConn teammates and coaches are planning to attend the game. And they both were hoping to spend some time on campus with those now on campus taking classes and playing pick-up games at some point Wednesday, if transportation could be arranged.

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Ogwumike Is WNBA’s Rookie Of The Month

by Categorized: Chiney Ogwumike, Connecticut Sun Date:

The play of rookie Chiney Ogwumike, the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, has been a major bright spot during the first seven games of the WNBA season for the Connecticut Sun.
And on Wednesday, she was named the league’s rookie of the month of May.

Ogwumike led all rookies in points (17.2 ppg), rebounds (9.2 rpg), blocked shots (1.8 bpg), and minutes (32.2 mpg).
Overall, she led the league in total offensive rebounds (24) and was in the top ten in points, rebounds, and minutes played, while ranking fourth in blocks.
She registered a double-double with career highs in points (25) and steals (four) with 10 rebounds and three blocks in a 90-87 loss to the defending champion Minnesota Lynx on May 18. She also had a career-best 15 rebounds in a 79-65 loss to the Indiana Fever on May 29.

Ogwumike is currently tied with two others for the league lead in double-doubles (four) and has posted double digits in scoring in each of the Sun’s seven games.