HARTFORD — Midway through his postgame press conference at the XL Center Tuesday, UConn Coach Geno Auriemma was handed a cellphone by his administrative assistant Sarah Darras.
This had to be important. It was. The President of the United States was on the phone.
Auriemma has taken the last two women's basketball national champions to the White House for recognition. And after the Huskies defeated Florida State, 93-62, for their record-setting 89th straight win, Obama wanted to extend his congratulations.
"If I was calling you and you had all of these reporters in front of you, you'd be dying to take my call," Auriemma told the President.
The talked for about five minutes, a conversation that was recorded by all of the television cameras.
"Mr. President, I appreciate your call very much. It's an incredible thing that these kids have done," Auriemma said. "And I sure some credit goes to that lesson you gave them [the 2008-09 champions] on the White House basketball court. It really paid off and I appreciate you doing that for him."
Obama obviously knew that the Huskies have not lost since he was elected since his inauguration.
"How about we keep that streak going for a couple more years," Auriemma said.
After he hung up the phone, Auriemma made a joke.
"That was the new President of the University of Connecticut," Auriemma said. "Might as well get off to a great start. . . Things just keep getting more ridiculous by the day as you try to sort it all out, figure what it means."
The Huskies' victory Sunday in New York actually tied them for the most consecutive wins for a North American women's college team.
The University of Winnipeg won 88 straight from 1992-95. That team competed in many U.S. tournaments in its run and featured point guard Pam Danis, the current coach of the program.
The women's team from Wayland Baptist won 131 straight from 1953-58. That team played in the Amateur Athletic Union, usually based in rural communities featuring semipro teams with business sponsors.
Moment For The Moose
There was a moment of silence for the late Walt Dropo, the former three-sport star at UConn from Moosup and 1950 American League rookie of the year with the Red Sox who died on Friday. … Auriemma was honored before the game by USA Basketball's Carol Callan for being chosen USA Basketball's co-coach of the year .. . .Former Florida State and NFL running back Warrick Dunn sat behind the Seminoles bench. . . Tina Charles, last year's college player of the year and the WNBA's rookie of the year, was also among the many UConn alumni at the game. … Said Big East commissioner John Marinatto: "I would like to congratulate Coach Geno Auriemma and recognize his staff and student-athletes who contributed to the his remarkable accomplishment. This is truly an extraordinary moment for UConn, the Big East and the entire sport. To win 89 consecutive games is a historic achievement and one of the most significant team accomplishments in all of sports."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun