A sold out crowd of 10,167 fans packed Gampel Pavilion to honor one of the most storied senior classes in UConn history during their 80-40 Senior Day victory over Tulane.
Seniors Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson, redshirt junior Morgan Tuck and senior walk-on Brianna Pulido all received plaques before the game commemorating their time as Huskies. Stewart and Jefferson were also inducted into the UConn “Huskies of Honor” for reaching All-American status during their careers.
Tuck who has one year of eligibility left has not announced if she will return to UConn for a fifth season.
Being honored in front of the Gampel crowd was a surreal feeling for this group that is looking to win UConn’s fourth straight National Championship.
“It didn’t really feel real being Senior Night,” Jefferson said. “Standing there me, Stewie, Tuck and Polly were like this does not feel real. It was exciting and it was a good experience but now that it is over it is time to keep moving along because that realm was not working out for us in the first half.”
After the ceremony, the Huskies got off to a surprisingly slow start in the first quarter. Tulane jumped out to a 13-2 lead as UConn started the game 0-for-12 from the field. After the first quarter Tulane led the Huskies 13-8. UConn made just one field goal in the quarter; the rest of their points came from the free throw line. The UConn leaders knew it was time for a change.
“There was a lot going on today obviously,” Stewart said. “We did come out really slow. We were missing a lot of shots that we normally make. It was good for us to figure it out and get the momentum back in other ways then just scoring.”
In the second quarter UConn was able to swing the momentum with their defense. The Huskies went on a 21-4 run in the quarter to take the lead for good. UConn led 36-20 at half time and the game was virtually over as they cruised through the second half. The Huskies forced 21 turnovers on the day and cooled off a Tulane team as they were able to heat up from the field.
Surprise Huskies of Honor Induction
In addition to Stewart and Jefferson, UConn also inducted associate head coach Chris Dailey into the Huskies of Honor.
This addition to the wall in Gampel was a surprise to Dailey as a way to recognize all that she has done for the program for past and current players. Dailey has served on the coaching staff alongside Auriemma for 31 seasons and is credited by many for helping to build the program.
An emotional Dailey said after the game that she was completely caught off guard, especially by the fact that so many of her family members were able to attend the game.
“You can’t even describe it because I wasn’t expecting it,” Dailey said. “[Geno] doesn’t keep secrets very well. Usually you think somebody would blab and it would normally be him.”
Along with past players, current players recognize all that Dailey has done for them and the program.
“I think CD is extremely important,” Tuck said. “She is the one that keeps everybody on their toes and makes sure we are doing the right things. Whether it is the way we dress or how we act or headphones and things like that. CD all-around helps us to become better people.”
Spencer Mayfield is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.