NEW YORK — Geno Auriemma and Sylvia Hatchell joined the 1,000-win club, while Dawn Staley had a successful trip home to Philadelphia.
UConn and North Carolina both won Tuesday, helping the Hall of Fame coaches reach the milestone . Hatchell’s Tar Heels topped Grambling State hours before Auriemma’s Huskies beat Oklahoma.
“There’s a lot that goes into winning,” Auriemma said after UConn’s 88-64 victory. “People think because you’re at a great school that has great tradition it’s easy to win. If it was that easy, every school that has it will win all the time. They don’t, it’s hard.”
Auriemma is the fastest to achieve the mark, doing so in his 1,135th game.
He has been impressed with the way Hatchell has been able to bounce back from cancer and handle North Carolina’s multiyear NCAA academic investigation, which ultimately led to no violations against the school or the women’s basketball program.
“It’s hard when you go through some personal things like Sylvia has, then go through some things that the school has gone through. There have been a lot of challenges, personal and professional for Sylvia,” Auriemma said. “You would see her during the summer and nothing changed. The look on her face was like: ‘What, me? Worried? I don’t worry about anything.'”
Staley returned home on Thursday to face Temple, the school where she got her coaching start . The women’s basketball coach at South Carolina returned to Philadelphia this week with her defending NCAA champion Gamecocks. It wasn’t her first time back in the city where she grew up since winning the national title in April. But this was a special trip for the Hall of Famer. She was going to her old stomping grounds, where she honed her skills as a player, to donate a replica NCAA championship trophy to the Hank Gathers Recreation Center.
Her hometown had a surprise for one of its favorites, too. The city proclaimed Wednesday Dawn Staley Day and renamed a street right where she grew up as Dawn Staley Lane.
“You don’t dream of streets being named after you,” Staley said after her fourth-ranked team routed Temple 87-60. “You dream about gold medals, winning national championships. That stuff hits you like a body blow you’re not prepared for when it comes from people who genuinely care for you. It makes it truly special.”
Other tidbits from the week:
HONORING CANDICE: Temple retired the jersey of WNBA star Candice Dupree on Thursday. It was only the second time in school history a women’s basketball player was bestowed that honor. Dupree starred for the Owls from 2002-06 and is the school’s career field goal percentage leader (51.4 percent). She’s third on the scoring list (1,698), third in rebounds (968) and tied for second in blocks (218). Staley had her team stay out and watch the halftime ceremony honoring her former player.
POLL WATCH: No. 18 Stanford dropped home games to Western Illinois and Tennessee, meaning the Cardinal are in danger of seeing their streak of being ranked for 312 consecutive weeks come to an end. Stanford has been in the Top 25 every week since the preseason poll in 2001-02. Only UConn has a longer streak (457 weeks). The Cardinal (6-6) haven’t been lower than 19th in the poll during their run.
TIP-INS: No. 14 Duke has held three straight opponents to 40 points or below for the first time in school history. During that stretch, the Blue Devils held their opponents to 36.3 points, 24.4 percent shooting. They forced 20.7 turnovers and outscored Winthrop, Maine and Wyoming by an average of 41.3 points. … Buffalo beat St. John’s 73-72 to move to 9-2 on the season. It was the Bulls first win over a Big East school since 2002 when they also beat the Red Storm.