Geno Auriemma coaches his 1,000th game at UConn on Feb. 22 at Houston. To commemorate the milestone, the Hartford Courant will occasionally publish a memory or remembrance of the Hall of Fame coach from someone who helped play a role in his journey.
Paige Sauer came to UConn from Midwest City, Okla., in 1996 and helped the Huskies move ahead in the post after the graduation of Kara Wolters in 1997. Sauer, who played in 134 games and shot 51.4 percent from the field, was a sophomore on that famous day at Villavova in 1998 when Auriemma and Wildcats coach Harry Perretta shook up the nation’s sensibilities.
“One of the favorite memories of Coach Auriemma was his decision to make sure Nykesha Sales broke the scoring record for UConn [at that time],” Sauer said. ” Nykesha was an unbelievable player and person and I will never forget the night she tore her achilles tendon. What Coach Auriemma did for Nykesha at the following game [at Villanova] was an amazing way to thank a player who had given so much to her team and the game of basketball.
“I don’t think any of us expected what would transpire with the media after the record was broken. It was such an awesome way to thank a player who had meant so much to UConn.
“Congratulations, Coach Auriemma for all of your wins! More importantly, thank you for showing us so many happy moments.”