The game was well in hand. The Huskies were leading Cincinnati 63-31. But that did not stop Brianna Banks and Moriah Jefferson from becoming involved in a pile-up in front of the UConn bench with 8:19 left in the game.
The mass of bodies sent Huskies’ coach Geno Auriemma scurrying up the sideline toward midcourt to avoid being physically involved in the play. His quick dance out of trouble also sent Stefanie Dolson into action.
Dolson sprung up from her seat on the bench and imitated Auriemma, much to delight of the crowd of 7,332 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
“We were up by a lot so it’s always nice to have some fun with Coach,’’ Dolson said. “It was just hilarious to see him do that with his little hands out like that. I knew the crowd would love it. So I figured I’d just re-enact it.’’
“I thought it was really funny,’’ sophomore Breanna Stewart said. “I think that it really fits her character and I don’t think anyone was too surprised that she did it. But it was still pretty funny.’’
Auriemma did not see Dolson’s act. But he did say that he would check it out when he watched film of the game.
“You know, back in the day, I remember Tonya Cardoza did that at the Final Four (in 1991). She came flying over there, and I caught her. I was (30)-some years old then. I saw those guys coming towards me (today), and I only needed to be quick for like three steps to get the hell out of the way. But there was no way I was standing there and being part of that collision. I’m sorry. I don’t want anybody to get hurt, especially me.’’
Here is what UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey had to say about Auriemma’s quick reaction.
“That’s the fastest I’ve seen him move,’’ Dailey said. “In his younger days he would have tried to stop the fall. Now that he’s old he had to get out of the way.
“He tried to re-enact something yesterday in practice and we all thought he was going to hurt his back. `I’m just glad he’s safe.’’