Busting Brackets

Geno Auriemma: “They never gave up on their dream and now here we are”

UConn vs Duke
UConn vs Duke / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Huskies have done it yet again.

Geno Auriemma and the UConn women’s basketball team are going back to the Final Four.

Auriemma’s team has not lost in the Elite Eight since 2007.

This time around, the No. 3 seed Huskies took down the No. 1 seed USC Trojans.

After the game, Auriemma was joined by Paige Bueckers, Nike Mühl, and Aaliyah Edwards at the postgame press conference. The UConn head coach and his players reflected on the past year and the incredible game they just lived through.

Bueckers, who has battled through injury and recovery for the past year, took the court earlier this season for the first time after 369 days.

“Today was one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve ever felt in my life,” Bueckers said. “I’m going to the Final Four.”

Mühl, a senior guard for the Huskies, also touched on why this game, this tournament, and this season was so special.

“Although a lot of people didn’t believe we were ever gonna do this, we did,” Mühl said. “We don’t really care what other people think but it feels really, really good to prove those people wrong.”

For the first time, in a long time, the Huskies entered this NCAA Tournament as considerable underdogs, surrounded by powerhouses like USC with JuJu Watkins, Iowa with Caitlin Clark, LSU with Angel Reese, South Carolina with Dawn Staley, and more.

“Even when we lost one and then another and then another, they never gave up on their dream,” Auriemma said. “Now, here we are.”

Mühl and Edwards will not be returning after this year, so this is their last chance at national title. While Bueckers will be returning for her senior year, you can tell she wants it just as badly.

Edwards, another senior on the team, talked about just how much her team had been through over the past year.

“You guys see what we do on the court but it’s really behind the scenes that we’re really grinding it out,” Edwards said. “We had to go through a lot and we went through a lot together.”

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