By Carl Adamec
Welcome to College Station, Texas.
A crowd of what Texas A&M hopes will be about 8,000 is starting to file into Reed Arena for the women’s basketball game between No. 2 UConn and 16th-ranked Huskies.
No changes are expected in the starting lineup for UConn (1-0). All-American Bria Hartley, as expected, is not in uniform as she misses her second straight game with a left ankle injury.
The coaching matchup features UConn’s Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma against Texas A&M’s Gary Blair, who will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
“I don’t know exactly when Gary started coaching, but I’m sure he asked Dr. Naismith, ‘Should the basket really be 10 feet?’ ” Auriemma said Thursday. “He’s been coaching so long that he must have started when he was 12, because when I got the job at Virginia in 1981 he had already been coaching awhile. So as far as I remember coaching women’s basketball, Gary Blair was always a part of it. And he was always on winning teams whether he was a head coach, an assistant, and he was always surrounded by other great people.
“And I think it was fitting for him to win a national championship (in 2011). I think sometimes in this game you’re rewarded for the time you put into it and doing it the right way. Give a lot of yourself to the game, and you get rewarded. It doesn’t always happen, but I’m glad it happened in his case. He’s been a lot of different places and done a lot for a lot of players and has given a lot to this game.”