On Monday, UConn women’s basketball and the US national team joined the basketball world in mourning the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others after the helicopter they were all riding in crashed in California on Sunday.
Before the game, the players from both teams gathered at center court during a 24-second moment of silence (in honor of Bryant’s jersey number, No. 24) while the XL Center was draped in purple light.
On UConn’s bench, it placed a No. 2 jersey on a chair along with flowers in honor of Gianna, who dreamed of playing for the Huskies one day.
Geno Auriemma remembered the first time GiGi Bryant met the team:— The UConn Blog (@TheUConnBlog) January 28, 2020
"She was like a little kid looking up at our players. You could just see the look in her eyes like she was so excited."https://t.co/FEFAnyzZXP pic.twitter.com/90koklz4TH
Once the game began, Team USA won the tip and held the ball for an eight-second backcourt violation while UConn reciprocated with a 24-second shot clock violation.
After the final buzzer sounded, Geno Auriemma and members of both teams reflected on the life and legacy of Kobe: