The UCONN women made a triumphant return to Connecticut last night, after trouncing the Louisville Lady Cardinals to secure a sixth NCAA National Championship. The crowd of dozens that met them at Bradley International Airport was very excited and very chilly. WNPR's Kate Davidson was there.
The Lady Huskies seemed entitled to land a little late. After all, they'd just capped off an undefeated championship season, the team's third. Plus waiting for an hour in the cold at the airport gave their fans one last chance to prove their devotion. Fans like Louis Cermola.
"I don't think there's any better basketball team in the country period. Like I say, they brought it to Connecticut. The women, not the men. I didn't say that." (chuckles)
Governor Jodi Rell braved the cold as well. Earlier, she issued an official proclamation, declaring Wednesday "Uconn Women's Basketball Day," and she thanked the team for delivering good news in hard times. But the main act was the women. The Big Three each spoke. Senior point guard Renee Montgomery was first. Then junior center Tina Charles, ducking to microphone. And finally sophomore forward Maya Moore, who summed it all up.
"Night in and night out we come in and we work so hard. And it just feels so good right now to come in and be able to share
in this national championship with my teammates and be able to win the way we did, just together with everybody playing so well. It's just so exciting right now, so everybody enjoy it and just thank you all."
As the players autographed their way to a pair of waiting buses, one woman called to Montgomery, "Renee, we're gonna miss you." And everyone around wished her luck. That's because the WNBA draft is Thursday.
****Update Renee Montgomery was drafted fourth overall by the Minnesota Lynx