STORRS, Conn. -- The Connecticut women's basketball team
arrived home from New Orleans Wednesday with its fifth national
Star Diana Taurasi surprised many by getting off the plane at
Bradley International Airport with her teammates. The Final Four's
MVP was expected to travel to Colorado to compete for a spot on the U.S. National team that will compete in the summer Olympics.
"Well, coach talked to the people at the U.S. team and worked
something out," Taurasi said. "I just really wanted to come back
with the team and enjoy this."
Coach Geno Auriemma thanked the several hundred fans who had
lined the fence at the airport.
For Connecticut fans, the celebrations are becoming routine. On
Tuesday, they gathered to greet the UConn men as they arrived home
after winning their second national championship.
"I know that everyone in Connecticut, whether you're a basketball
fan or not, has got to feel a tremendous sense of pride and you just
can't help but admire the way these young people have performed
over the weekend both in San Antonio and in New Orleans," Auriemma
The team boarded a bus for a victory rally on campus at Gampel Pavilion.
With the women's third consecutive NCAA title, UConn becomes the
first school ever to win both Division I basketball championships in the same year.
"We don't even understand the magnitude of our own win, let
alone what both programs have accomplished in the same year,"
UConn's Maria Conlon said Tuesday. "Hopefully in a couple of
weeks, when we settle in, we'll understand how special this is.
The UConn women beat Tennessee 70-61 in New Orleans, while the
men defeated Georgia Tech 82-73 for the title in San Antonio.
Both Connecticut teams were No. 1 in The Associated Press
preseason polsl and each stumbled at times during the regular season
before getting it back together in the NCAA Tournament.
"It's domination, just like Taurasi said," said Charmaine
Smith, a 21-year-old junior from Waterbury, who watched Tuesday's
women's game on big-screen TVs set up at the arena.
The university was working with the Greater Hartford Arts
Council on plans for a parade through the capital city. Details
were expected to be released on Thursday.