The decision was not easy for Louisville sophomore Sara Hammond, a Mount Vernon, Ky. resident. She found herself choosing between the Cardinals and UConn during the recruiting process.
Ultimately, it was the ability of her family, notably her parents Eddie and Roxanne, to watch her play at Louisville that swayed her decision.
Hammond still find herself having to answer the question of why she chose Louisville. With the Cardinals and Huskies set to collide in the NCAA tournament final Tuesday at New Orleans, today was no different.
“That’s been the main question ever since I’ve gone to college,’’ Hammond said. “Why did you pick Louisville over UConn? It is ironic because every time we play them that’s the main question that gets brought up: How does it feel to be playing UConn? You could be on the other side playing with the Stefanie Dolsons and the Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’. But I decided to stay at home because I wanted my family to watch me play. I took a visit to Connecticut. I loved their program. I loved their campus. Geno Auriemma, besides Jeff Walz, was my next favorite coach. I saw the look on my mom and dad’s face when they saw me excited. They loved it and they were happy for me. But I could tell they were going to be really sad if they couldn’t watch me play basketball. And I knew 15 hours away from home would be heartbreaking to my family and me. So I think that was the main reason I stayed in Louisville. Instead of driving 15 hours they just had to drive only two hours down the road to watch me play.
“It was hard because throughout that summer I had my mind made up that I was going to Louisville just because of how hard they had recruited me. And then in late July I got a phone call from Geno Auriemma saying that they wanted me to come up and that he was going to offer me a scholarship. So at that point it was a toss-up. Me and my family sat down and we prayed about it. We talked it over. I talked with my high school coach about it too. And we all just came to a decision that you’ve got to do what your heart tells you and my heart told me to stay at home with my family.’’
“Connecticut’s a great program. I love Geno Auriemma. The whole recruiting process with him was wonderful. Their players were amazing to me. But I’m happy to be at Louisville. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It’s just kind of crazy how it’s all evolved and we’re here playing Connecticut for a national championship.’’