UConn has been a powerhouse in both men’s and women’s college basketball for decades now. Both teams enjoy massive popularity in Storrs, but they have sometimes rumored to be at odds with one another – especially when Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma were vying for the spotlight at the same time.
Under Kevin Ollie, however, things are definitely more cordial. At Friday’s “First Night”, as UConn’s version of midnight madness is known, the men and women split up into mixed teams and scrimmaged against one another. According to the school’s website, Team Geno took a hard-fought (that might be an exaggeration) 51-49 victory in the abbreviated twenty minute game.
Team Geno was led to victory by 11 points from Shabazz Napier, who hit three deep shots. His teammate Breanna Stewart had five points and three boards.
Team Kevin got 11 points from NC State transfer Rodney Purvis, and Tyler Olander, who had a rough offseason, attempted to make it up to his teammates by dishing out three assists.
The coed scrimmage was something new for the Huskies, who had never done anything similar in the past. There’s video, so go check it out.
“You can’t sit back and keep doing the same thing over and over again,” Auriemma said after the game. “I think you need to figure out ways to do things differently and create new events. This is just another event that the marketing people came up with that we thought was a great idea. The kids are very excited about this, I’ll tell you that.”
I’m not sure if Tennessee has ever done something like this, but it’s not a bad idea.