Friday, October 18, 2013

UConn's First Night Festivities a Rousing Success

Fun night at Gampel on Friday for First Night. Big crowd that was packed to the rafters and seemed to enjoy the whole thing.

Team Geno won, 51-49, thanks to Omar Calhoun's 3-pointer with 20.3 seconds left. Shabazz Napier and Rodney Purvis each netted 11 points, while Kentan Facey and Calhoun had 10 each. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was the top female with seven points and Breanna Stewart added five.

Here are some quotes and video from First Night festivities:

*** Purvis, who must sit out this season as a transfer, seemed particularly active in the scrimmage, knowing it's his one time to shine this season.

"KO told me, just go out and have fun. This will be the first and last time the fans can see me until next year, so I had to go out there and have a little fun."

Purvis is a real nice and engaging kid, and he truly seems to be falling in love with Storrs.

"I love the fans here," he said. "They’re committed fans, they’re great ... I’m getting accustomed to everything. The guys here play really fast. I had to get used to this – practices are very long and hard. I’m ready now, I got in pretty good shape, so I’m ready.”

*** All the players seemed to enjoy the chance to play with and against members of the men's and women's teams.

Calhoun: "It was definitely fun, seeing both sides. We’re all friendly and cool. We all support each other at the games."

Napier: “I enjoyed going against Moriah, seeing Stephanie step back and take a 3. We hang around each other a lot, but we don’t actually play each other, so it was actually good for us to do that. It shows we’re in it together.”

Stefanie Dolson: “I think it was definitely my favorite out of the four years I’ve been here. The environment was insane, playing with the guys was fun. We kind of let them do their thing, and then had our moment to shine. It was a great night.”

*** Calhoun said he's going full-contact in practice, doing everything everyone else is doing, and is "about 80-percent" right now. He says he's a head of schedule and believes he'll be able to play in UConn's exhibition opener on Oct. 30 vs. SCSU.

*** Nolan said there's a real battle going on for the starting center spot.

"Everyone’s going at each other every single day," he said. "Literally, it’s like a three-headed monster in practice. We all want that starting spot. We’ll see who’s going to get it at the end of the day.”

*** UConn had numerous recruits in the house, including (among others) Jessie Govan, Malachi Richardson, Will Jackson and Jalen Adam. It appears Brewster Acadmey's Donovan Mitchell and Jared Reuter were not able to attend, however. Hearing Mitchell headed home for the weekend to southwestern Connecticut but couldn't get a train to get to the event on time.

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