Don't know how many times we'll see this matchup in the future, given the game of conference musical chairs that continues to be played in college sports, but this Saturday will be another opportunity to see UConn and UC in women's basketball with Geno Auriemma, the coach who built the UConn program into the juggernaut it is today, and Jamelle Elliott, one of his players who was on the ground floor of that construction project.
For those of you who don't know her pedigree, here's a paragraph or two from her official UC bio: "Elliott, who was a four-year letterwinner, helped build the UConn dynasty as a player and finished her career ranked No. 2 among UConn's all-time rebounding leaders (1,054), No. 5 in BIG EAST career rebounding (558), and No. 11 in UConn career scoring (1,387)."
But wait, there's more: "She has been a part of six national championships, including the Huskies' 2009 undefeated championship run, and won a title as a player, helping UConn to the 1995 championship, the first in the school's history.
"Building on her success as a player for the Huskies, Elliott has helped guide UConn to a 402-36 (.918) record in her 12 years as an assistant coach, leading the team to seven NCAA Final Four berths in that span. In conference action, UConn has won the BIG EAST Conference regular season title in 10 of her 12 seasons, while also claiming a total of nine tournament crowns."
In his 27 seasons at UConn, Coach Auriemma has turned that program from only one winning season, to one that claims seven national titles, 13 Final Fours, four perfect seasons (1995, 2002, 2009, 2010) and 37 BIG EAST titles, all since Auriemma's arrival in 1985.
The moral? Well, Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes time to build a program. Coach Elliott is building the UC program with the knowledge and experience she gleaned from one of the best. So on Saturday night at 8 p.m., teacher and student will meet again. Come out to Fifth Third Arena and watch it. We may not see this too many times again.