Thursday, January 10, 2013

Geno/Taurasi/Team USA honored

UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma was selected as co-recipient of the 2012 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award along Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) after each led the USA to a gold medal in the London Olympic Games and undefeated exhibition records in 2012. In the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, Auriemma led the USA women to an 8-0 record and piloted the USA Women’s National Team to a 5-0 record during exhibition play in 2012. Under Auriemma’s leadership, the USA topped teams by an average of 34.4 points per game during the Olympics and listed No. 1 in 15 of 19 major statistical categories among the 12-team field, including points averaged (90.6), field goal percentage (.484), rebounding margin (+17.2), blocked shots (41), assists (185), steals (84) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67). The team also recorded 2012 Olympic single-game highs for points scored (114), field goals made (52), field goals attempted (90), field goal percentage (.627), rebounds (62), assists (33), steals (15) and blocked shots (11), and set U.S. Olympic single-game records for points (tied), rebounds, field goals made, field goals attempted (tied), assists and blocked shots. The 2012 squad also set U.S. Olympic competition records for field goals attempted (597), rebounds (404) and blocked shots (41).

“Coach Auriemma led the way, and he was never satisfied,” said Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), three-time Olympic gold medalist and 2012 co-captain. “He always wanted more from us as individuals and as a unit. It was more than just winning a gold medal, it was about playing basketball the right way.”

Former UConn All-American and current WNBA Phoenix Mercury Star G Diana Taurasi was tabbed at the 2012 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. Taurasi is a three-time Olympic gold medalist who helped lead the USA women to a fifth-straight Olympic gold medal as well as an undefeated exhibition schedule in 2012. This is the fourth consecutive year the UConn women’s basketball program has been represented in the naming of this award (Tina Charles 2009, Taurasi 2010, and Breanna Stewart 2011). Taurasi, who was named a tri-captain of the U.S. Olympic squad, started in all eight Olympic wins and averaged a team-high 12.4 points per game to go with 3.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest in the 2012 London Olympics. She also shot 45.5 percent from the field and team-bests of 42.9 percent from 3-point and 96.0 percent from the free throw line.

“Twelve years ago I wore my first USA jersey, and the feeling of honor and excitement never diminishes,” said Taurasi, who also earned USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year award in 2010 and 2006. “I had the opportunity to learn from the best, play with the best and be coached by the best. This honor is very special because it is in recognition of everyone who has played for our county.”

USA Basketball named its 2012 U.S. Men's and Women's Olympic National Teams as co-recipients of the 2012 USA Basketball Team of the Year Award. University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma and six former Huskies were all part of Team USA women's basketball which went on to win the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Former UConn standouts Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tina Charles, Asjha Jones, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi were all part of the gold medal Team USA. While the USA men stood atop the podium for a second-consecutive Olympic Games, the USA women captured an unprecedented fifth-straight Olympic gold medal.

"Winning a gold medal during an Olympic year, as far as USA Basketball is concerned, is the culmination of four years of hard work," said USA women's head coach Geno Auriemma. "So, for our men's and women's teams to be the team of the year is a reflection on the work USA Basketball does with all our partners. Every day, there are people working to make sure those four years end with a gold medal. I want to pass along congratulations to Coach K and the men's team. They are just a bunch of super guys, and it was an honor and a thrill to be in London and watch them perform."

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