Chris Dailey was by Geno Auriemma's side Monday night, the architects of UConn women's basketball, and the pair earned victory No. 1,016 together as the top-ranked Huskies defeated No. 4 Louisville.
The game took place at Gampel Pavilion -- the building for which not even a blueprint existed when Auriemma and Dailey came to Storrs in 1985 -- before a sellout crowd of 10,167.
At halftime, it was announced that Dailey will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the 2018 class. She was named one of 10 finalists in January.
"CD is incredible for this program," senior guard Kia Nurse said. "You come here, you meet her, you're in the program and you see what she does every day -- her ability to do the team-building stuff, the off-the-court stuff, and make sure you're ready to enter the real world after you leave this place."
The Hall of Fame will also induct Ceal Barry, Rose Marie Battaglia, Mickie DeMoss, Chamique Holdsclaw, Katie Smith and Tina Thompson. They will be enshrined June 9 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Dailey has helped Auriemma and UConn to 11 national championships, six perfect seasons and 45 conference championships (23 regular season, 22 tournaments). She has had a major impact as the Huskies' recruiting coordinator, helping land 22 players who have been honored as first-team All-Americans 41 times.
UConn had one winning season prior to the arrival of Auriemma and Dailey, who was previously an assistant at Cornell and Rutgers, her alma mater. She was promoted from assistant to associate head coach at UConn in 1988.
Dailey was inducted into the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. Auriemma was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 and has always credited Dailey for her contributions.
"She helps clean up everything," junior Katie Lou Samuelson said. "Even before Coach gets to see, she'll clean things up."
Rematch In 2018-19
UConn and Louisville have played 18 times. The Cardinals won the first meeting in 1993 and UConn has won 17 in a row. Prior to Monday, the teams last met in 2014, the first AAC championship game.
"He knew he was going to have a really good team this year," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said of Louisville coach Jeff Walz. "Like I said before, What's the downside to this game? If you win you think one thing and if you lose you think another thing, but neither team comes out of this game thinking, 'Oh, boy, we're in really big trouble.' So there's no downside to it."
Husky fans, check out the Top 5 Plays from last nights win over Louisville! I wonder what the #1 play is...? pic.twitter.com/AvIA9lc4WG— UConn Women's Hoops (@UConnWBB) February 13, 2018
The teams have a two-year contract that will continue next year in Louisville.
"He'll probably let me know where it goes from there, depending on his recruiting class and our recruiting class," Auriemma said. "If he has a good recruiting class and we don't he'll be on the phone nonstop."
Louisville is neck-and-neck with Notre Dame for the ACC title. Of nonconference games so late in the season, Walz said, "I think they're great. I have no problem with it. ESPN does a great job of giving us the opportunity to be on national TV. ... It's good for our game. We're trying to grow our game, we're trying to get our viewership to where it needs to be. If the [final] score is the way it is [69-58], I wish it would have been the fourth quarter where they go on a 24-6 run [instead of the first]. Unfortunately after the first quarter you might have had some people [think], 'Oh, it's over.' It really wasn't."
Women's basketball: 30 named to midseason Naismith Watch List
Louisville outscored UConn 36-27 in the second half.
"We were trying to slow it down, clearly," UConn's Katie Lou Samuelson said. "We felt like we had to get a good shot each possession, but it seemed like we were taking worst shots than when we were speeding it up. So [it's important to] just understand how to play when you're up and still be able to execute the way you want to."
Will Louisville return to Storrs and/or Hartford?
"He's not kind, so I'm not going to come back up to see him," Walz joked about Auriemma. ... UConn's Napheesa Collier had made 21 consecutive free throws before a miss in the third quarter. She made 6 of 14 shots and 2 of 4 free throws for 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. ... Samuelson now has 1,515 career points. ... Azura Stevens (eight points in 16 minutes) and Megan Walker (scoreless in two minutes) were the only players off the bench.
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