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March 23, 2009 at 8:03 AM

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma wins Coach of the Year

Geno.jpgThe Women’s Basketball Coach’s Association (WBCA) awarded Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma his second consecutive Coach of the Year honor today. His Huskies were 33-0 this season, the fifth time in his career he led an undefeated team. (Auriemma is pictured right by the Associated Press)
Seattleite Sue Semrau (Florida State) won the honor for her region while Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer was named Region 8 Coach of the Year.
UConn won its games by an average of about 35 points this season and is continuing to do the same in the tournament, defeating No. 16 seed Vermont 104-65 in its opening-round NCAA tournament game on Sunday.
Watching the Huskies steamroll through the season and Big East conference tourney put the 58-point loss Washington suffered in December in Mexico in perspective for junior co-captain Sami Whitcomb.
“I totally look at it differently,” said Whitcomb recently. “At one point, we weren’t that far off and look what they’ve done to everybody this season. We’re a better team than our record shows.”
In its loss to UConn, coach Tia Jackson had a injury-plagued roster and began to make substitutions early because the Huskies were slated to play the following night. They coincidently faced FSU and won, a loss that motivated the Seminoles’ season.
It was the school-record 77-point loss to Stanford that rocked Washington. But the Huskies do have plenty of company in the pasted-by-UConn support group — including No. 4 seed Pitt, which is playing No. 12 seed Gonzaga in the Seattle subregional tonight. The Panthers lost to UConn 95-42 in February.
“We just didn’t compete with them, that’s why there was such a big gap,” Pitt G Shavonte Zellous said. “We came together as a team [after the game] and stuck it out and said this one loss can’t make us dead and don’t compete with any other team. We approached it like that – don’t let Connecticut scare you. But it was devastating.”

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