UConn women’s basketball continues their march towards a 12th national title tonight in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against 10-seeded Buffalo.
Ahead of the March Madness, the NCAA released a commercial titled “Day in the Life” which was designed to show off the life of a student athlete. However, it created a negative blowback from many current and former student athletes, with many mocking it as “Day in the Life of an Intramural Student Athlete.”
Former UConn football star Byron Jones said “This video is NOTHING like being a student athlete” on Twitter while Breanna Stewart added her two cents as well.
When UConn women’s basketball’s “Big Three” of Napheesa Collier, Crystal Dangerfield and Katie Lou Samuelson were asked about the commercial, they all just chuckled.
“It’s just funny because it doesn’t tell the whole story, obviously. I don’t know. I don’t know how they thought to make it but it’s pretty interesting that’s what they think really goes on,” Dangerfield said.
Collier noted how she didn’t get as worked up about it as a lot of people, but still didn’t find it all that accurate.
“I mean, that’s not my student-athlete life,” she said. “I don’t think that’s how my life is.”
When Samuelson was talking about the commercial in the Huskies’ locker room lounge, it just happened to come on the TV.
“Hey look, it’s on!” she exclaimed, before bursting into laugher.
“I thought it was interesting on their own take,” Samuelson said. “I think every sport really has a different type of day so it’s hard to put one day to the life of a student-athlete overall but I think some would say it’s not the exact representation.”
If UConn can take care of business Sunday night against Buffalo, seniors Collier and Samuelson will end their collegiate careers with a perfect 59-0 record at home. Not only have the pair been spotless at Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center, nobody has come that close to beating them.
The narrowest margin of victory at home for the seniors is nine points, an 80-71 win over Notre Dame at the XL Center. That’s the only game that has even been within single digits. The closest game in Storrs was also against Notre Dame when the Huskies won by 10 back in 2015-16 — Collier and Samuelson’s first-ever game at Gampel.
Since then, UConn has won all their home games by an average of 40.2 points per game. Overall, the Huskies have outscored opponents by 2,329 points at home over the last four years. UConn has actually been more dominant at the XL Center, averaging a 44.1-point victory in 24 games there as opposed to averaging a 37.35-point victory in 34 games at Gampel Pavilion.
Collier and Samuelson have also played 20 more games in the state of Connecticut — 16 at Mohegan Sun and four at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. They’re undefeated there too and hold an average margin of victory of over 30 points at both venues.
Ignore the Noise...Sometimes
Typically, UConn women’s basketball’s mantra is to ignore what people are saying about the team externally — whether it be good or bad. But this year, it seems like that’s changed a bit. The team has made it clear that they pay attention to what has been said about them this season.
“It’s no secret what people have said about our team,” Dangerfield noted after the selection show. “But we’re not focused on that.”
So as much as the Huskies sometimes act like they live in a bubble within the walls of Gampel Pavilion and the Werth Champions Center, they still hear what is said about them. But how do they decide what gets used as motivation?
“I think we’ve had to use a lot of stuff this year to motivate us,” Samuelson said. “It is hard to pick and choose but understanding there are things that if you feel as a team, overall, it wasn’t necessarily respectful in a sense we can use stuff like that to motivate us moving forward.”
Buffalo certainly got that message. In their pre-game press conference on Saturday, Cierra Dillard made sure to leave plenty of respect for the Huskies.
Buffalo's Cierra Dillard made sure to give UConn plenty of respect ahead of tonight's game pic.twitter.com/rcIkJerUyN— TheUConnBlog (@TheUConnBlog) March 24, 2019
Jack vs. Geno
When UConn and Buffalo tip-off at 7 p.m. on Sunday, it won’t be the first time Geno Auriemma and Buffalo head coach Felisha Legette-Jack face-off. Legette-Jack was a player at Syracuse during Auriemma’s first four years at UConn.
Women’s basketball stats aren’t the easiest thing to come by, especially from the 1980’s, so we don’t know how well Buffalo coach Felisha Legette-Jack did when she played against Geno Auriemma’s UConn teams for Syracuse from 1985-89. However, we do know the head-to-head record between the two.
The Orange held a 4-3 edge over the Huskies but the home team won every game. The first three years, the two schools split the season series but in 1988-89, there was only one game, at Syracuse, which gave them the narrow margin.
Bringing Buffalo Back
This will just be the third all-time meeting between UConn and Buffalo. The first came on Nov. 19, 2004, a 107-40 season-opening blowout win for the then-No. 4 Huskies. The most recent game was on Nov. 26, 2011 when No. 2 UConn ran away with a 90-34 victory.
Tiffany Hayes led the Huskies in scoring with 30 points while Stefanie Dolson and Kelly Farris both reached double-figures as well.
The win was the Huskies’ 88th-consecutive win at home, which tied the all-time NCAA record set by Division III Rust College in Mississippi from 1982-89. UConn would set the record the next day in a 78-38 win over Dayton. However, it would snap later that year when St. John’s stunned the Huskies 57-56 on Senior Day.