UConn women ready to move on

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DOUG FEIN­BERG

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — Geno Auriemma and his UConn Huskies haven’t watched last sea­son’s Fi­nal Four loss to Mis­sis­sippi State. They are fo­cus­ing on the fu­ture more than dwelling on the past.

“I haven’t watched the game, but I’m sure I will at some point,” Auriemma said.

“They are prob­a­bly right say­ing they want to move for­ward and want a fresh start. I think that’s good. How­ever, there is go­ing to come a time when they will have to face up to what hap­pened. What things were out of our con­trol and what things were in our con­trol. There are things you can’t pre­tend didn’t hap­pen.”

His play­ers took the most im­por­tant les­son from the loss: They hate to lose.

“We could watch it, an­a­lyze it, but the big­gest take­away is how we all felt and we never want to be in that po­si­tion again,” said Katie Lou Sa­muel­son. “We just have to learn from it and we want to have a fresh start, not get too caught up on the past. It will fuel us as we go for­ward.”

Team­mate Gabby Wil­liams was more suc­cinct on the de­feat that shocked the women’s basketball world.

“That was an aw­ful feel­ing and we never want to feel like that again,” she said.

Sa­muel­son, Wil­liams, Napheesa Col­lier and Azura Stevens sat down with The As­so­ci­ated Press dur­ing the Un­der-23 USA Basketball train­ing camp on Tues­day. The four play­ers can’t play on the U23 team that will head to Tokyo for a tour­na­ment be­cause the Huskies are go­ing to Italy at the same time.

Still, hav­ing a chance to com­pete with the best col­lege play­ers in the coun­try, in­clud­ing two from Mis­sis­sippi State, wasn’t lost on them.

“It’s been great so far play­ing with peo­ple who you play against dur­ing the year,” Col­lier said. “I’ve played with some of them be­fore on other USA Basketball teams.”

This week is the first com­pet­i­tive basketball the play­ers have had since the last-sec­ond over­time loss to Mis­sis­sippi State that ended the Huskies’ record 111-game win­ning streak. The Huskies will get an early jump on the up­com­ing sea­son when they start prac­tice Satur­day to pre­pare for the trip to Italy.

“We’re get­ting to­gether early and will have the head start and get to know each other ear­lier,” Wil­liams said. “The first few prac­tices are the hard­est prac­tices of the year, so to get that over with is good for us.”

The Huskies still have one ma­jor streak left that won’t be on the line dur­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion tour in Italy. They haven’t lost con­sec­u­tive games since 1992-93.

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