College coaches take time out to work with US team
STORRS, Conn. (AP) Geno Auriemma admitted his body ached after the U.S. women's basketball training camp ended Tuesday.
The 61-year-old coach wasn't used to six hours of practice every day. He was going with the national team for a few hours in the morning and then having No. 1 UConn practice in the afternoon.
''My knees are stiff, my back hurts. I'm not used to standing for six hours - two practices a day,'' he said. ''It's like working camp in the summer.''
Despite the aches and pains, he wouldn't trade the last few days for anything.
''Believe it or not, we had our best practice with (UConn) yesterday afternoon,'' he said. ''So maybe it did get me refocused, recharged. You're stepping away from it a little bit. I think it makes me appreciate what we have here. It's pretty special and not something I take for granted.''
UConn's leader wasn't the only coach to take time away from a busy college schedule to be at the training camp. While Auriemma could still practice with his college team, DePaul coach Doug Bruno had to step away from his 19th-ranked team for a few days. Bruno is an assistant on the Olympic team and was at practice Monday and Tuesday. He knew how important it was to be at the camp, even if it wasn't the most convenient timing for him.
''I really didn't know until after our game against Creighton on Sunday where I would go,'' Bruno said. ''I had a seat back to Chicago on our charter and a ticket here. I felt comfortable with the way we played the other day that I could take a few days to come here.''
The Blue Demons don't play until Saturday.
The only assistant who couldn't make it was South Carolina coach Dawn Staley. Her third-ranked Gamecocks beat Alabama on Monday night, which made it impossible for her to be at the camp.
Hartford coach Jen Rizzotti isn't an official assistant coach for the Olympic team, but she went to London to help scout opposing teams and will perform the same duty in Rio. She helped out at the three-day camp, making the 40-minute drive every day from Hartford to UConn. She then would go back to Hartford and practice with her team later in the afternoon.
''It was great to be around this group again, but also we have a game Wednesday which I need to make sure we're ready for,'' Rizzotti said as she hustled out of practice Tuesday.
A few hours after the end of U.S. practice Tuesday, Auriemma was back on the court with the Huskies. He was getting them ready for a game against SMU on Wednesday night. It's the next step in their quest for an unprecedented fourth consecutive national championship.
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